Common section

THE SPIRITUAL EXERCISES

Introduction

As mentioned in the Preface the Spiritual Exercises was the only work of Ignatius published during his lifetime (in a very limited edition) and strictly speaking no author’s copy has survived.1 However it has become customary to refer to a Spanish manuscript preserved in the Roman archives of the Society of Jesus as the ‘Autograph’ because, although not written by Ignatius, it bears numerous notes and corrections in his hand, probably dating from about 1550. In addition there is a very literal Latin translation,2which is of particular importance as it seems to antedate the Autograph by over ten years and Ignatius may well have had a hand in the translation. Finally, there is another Latin translation, the Vulgata, the work of André des Freux, a French Jesuit well trained in classical Latin, which was commissioned in order to be submitted for Papal approval in 1548 and therefore couched in a more elegant style. Although some have claimed that this should be regarded as the authoritative text, most scholars are agreed that its preoccupation with elegance exacts a certain lack of fidelity.

The reluctance shown by Ignatius to any wide dissemination of his text is easily understandable when one accepts that it was always through the spoken word that he introduced people to the Exercises. Somebody is required to ‘give’ the exercises, and only persons who have experienced the process that these exercises set in motion can do this.

The process itself is no great mystery, as the very first Annotation (Exx. 1) makes clear: a person wants to dispose him/herself before God, so that the inner heart can face God with honesty. In some ways this is no more mysterious than walking or running, but just as most people would agree that reading a book is not the most helpful way to learn to walk or run, so anybody who has actually experienced praying to God for light about the honesty of one’s life will acknowledge that books are no great help.

Ignatius prepared these notes so that somebody could instruct somebody else in the steps of the process, and would have some warning of the sorts of reactions that may occur – from outright rejection to wild enthusiasm (both equally dangerous). The idea is to bring the retreatant gently into a state where prayer before God can be undertaken while at the same time one looks honestly at the failings or drawbacks which hinder that prayer. Eventually the attention focuses more and more on the figure of Jesus Christ, and on his liberating message. It is in the light of the One who claimed to be the Way, the Truth and the Life that the exercitant examines whether the life he or she is leading is as it should be. And frequently it is the shock of this self-questioning that arouses great personal emotions, doubts, joy and pain. Usually somebody is then needed to help one cope with the test. And the resolutions taken have to be able to stand the questions raised by the death of Christ, and by His glory.

However, this general process gives rise to a wealth of remarks about a series of techniques (concerning self-knowledge, ways of praying, making choices, etc) to which Ignatius returns constantly in his other writings, and which of themselves justify the inclusion of the Exercises here. In any case Ignatius’s text is now an acknowledged heirloom in the spiritual heritage of the world.

In the translation the Autograph has served as the basic text, though there are references to the Latin translations in the notes. The paragraph numbers follow standard convention for reference purposes. The English translation has passed through almost as many hands as did the original text: it stems from a version made by William Yeomans, and was then radically revised by Michael Ivens and Joseph Munitiz, with the help of further suggestions by Philip Endean.

NOTES

1 The fundamental work on the manuscripts of the Exercises was completed by two Spanish Jesuits, José Calveras and Cándido de Dalmases. A useful survey is included in the latter’s edition (see Bibliography).

2 Slightly shortened; there are two slightly different versions, dubbed Versio prima 1 and Versio prima 2, with minimal differences.

Annotations

JHS

[1] ANNOTATIONS1 (OR NOTES) TO PROVIDE SOME EXPLANATION OF THE SPIRITUAL EXERCISES THAT FOLLOW. THEY ARE INTENDED TO BE OF ASSISTANCE BOTH TO THE PERSON GIVING THEM AND TO THE PERSON WHO IS TO RECEIVE THEM.

ANNOTATION 1. The term ‘spiritual exercises’ denotes every way of examining one’s conscience, of meditating, contemplating, praying vocally and mentally, and other spiritual activities, as will be said later. For just as strolling, walking and running are exercises for the body, so ‘spiritual exercises’ is the name given to every way of preparing and disposing one’s soul to rid herself of all disordered attachments,2 so that once rid of them one might seek and find the divine will in regard to the disposition of one’s life for the good of the soul.

[2] ANNOTATION 2. The person who gives to another a way and a plan for meditating or contemplating must provide a faithful account of the events to be meditated or contemplated, simply running over the salient points with brief or summary explanations. For if a person begins contemplating with a true historical foundation, and then goes over the historical narrative and reflects on it personally, one may by oneself come upon things that throw more light on the history or better bring home its meaning. Whether this results from one’s own reasoning or from the enlightenment of divine grace, this is more gratifying and spiritually profitable than if the director3 had explained and developed at length the meaning of the history. For it is not so much knowledge that fills and satisfies the soul, but rather the intimate feeling and relishing of things.

[3] ANNOTATION 3. In all the spiritual exercises that follow we bring the intellect into action in order to think and the will in order to stir the deeper affections. We should therefore note that the activity of the will, when we are speaking vocally or mentally with God Our Lord or with His saints, requires greater reverence on our part than when we are using the intellect to understand.

[4] ANNOTATION 4. The exercises that follow are made up of four Weeks, corresponding to the four parts into which these Exercises are divided: namely, the First is the consideration and contemplation of sins; the Second is the life of Christ Our Lord up to, and including, Palm Sunday; the Third, the Passion of Christ Our Lord; the Fourth, the Resurrection and Ascension, with the three ways of praying. However this does not mean that each Week necessarily lasts for six or eight days, for in the First Week some may happen to be slower in finding what they are looking for, namely contrition, sorrow, and tears over their sins. Then again, some may be more rapid than others, and some more stirred or tried by various spirits. Therefore it may be necessary sometimes to shorten the Week and at other times to lengthen it, and similarly in the subsequent Weeks one must always be seeking whatever is appropriate to the matter under consideration. But the Exercises should be completed in about thirty days.

[5] ANNOTATION 5. It is very profitable for the exercitant to begin the Exercises in a magnanimous spirit and with great liberality towards one’s Creator and Lord, offering Him all one’s power of desiring and one’s liberty, so that the Divine Majesty may make use of one’s person and of all that one has according to His most holy will.

[6] ANNOTATION 6. When the director giving the Exercises becomes aware that the exercitant is not affected by any spiritual movements, such as consolations or desolations, and is not being stirred by various spirits, the director should question the exercitant closely about the Exercises, whether they are being made at their appointed times, and in what way, and similarly whether the additions are being carefully followed. The director should inquire in detail about each of these points. There are remarks below on consolation and desolation [Exx. 316–24] and on the additions [Exx. 73–90].

[7] ANNOTATION 7. If the one giving the Exercises sees that the one receiving them is desolate and tempted, it is important not to be hard or curt with that person, but gentle and kind. Let the director give the exercitant courage and strength for the future, and lay open before that person the cunning tricks of the enemy of human nature, and encourage the person to prepare and make ready for the consolation that is to come.

[8] ANNOTATION 8. As the director giving the Exercises becomes aware of the particular needs of the receiver in the matter of desolations and cunning tricks of the enemy, as well as in the matter of consolations, the director will be able to instruct the exercitant about the rules of the First and Second Weeks for recognizing various spirits [Exx. 313–27, 328–36].

[9] ANNOTATION 9. The following should be noted when the exercitant is making the Exercises of the First Week. If it is a person with no previous experience of spiritual things, and who is tempted crudely and obviously, as for example by having obstacles suggested preventing advancement in the service of God Our Lord, such as fatigues, shame and fear inspired by worldly honour, etc, the director should not talk to that person about the Second Week rules for various spirits, because just as the First Week rules will be very profitable to such a person, so will those of the Second Week do harm, as they deal with questions too delicate and too elevated to be understood.

[10] ANNOTATION 10. When the giver of the Exercises sees that the receiver is being assailed and tempted under the appearance of good, that is the time to speak to such a person about the Second Week rules mentioned above. For normally the enemy of human nature tempts more under the appearance of good when a person exercises him- or herself in the illuminative life,4 which corresponds to the Exercises of the Second Week. Such temptations are less common in the purgative [way of] life, which corresponds to the Exercises of the First Week.

[11] ANNOTATION 11. Whilst the exercitant is in the First Week it is better for such a person to know nothing of what will have to be done in the Second Week. Rather, the exercitant should strive to obtain what is being looked for in the First Week as if there were nothing good to be hoped for in the Second.

[12] ANNOTATION 12. The giver of the Exercises should remind the receiver frequently that since an hour has to be spent in each of the five exercises or contemplations to be made each day, one should always try to find contentment in the thought that a full hour has indeed been spent in that exercise – and more, if anything, rather than less! For the enemy usually leaves nothing undone in his efforts to procure a shortening of the hour of contemplation, meditation or prayer.

[13] ANNOTATION 13. It should also be noted that whereas in time of consolation it is easy and undemanding to remain in contemplation for the full hour, in time of desolation it is very difficult to last out. Consequently, in order to go against desolation and overcome temptations the exercitant must always stay on a little more than the full hour, so that one gets used not only to standing up to the adversary, but even to overthrowing him.

[14] ANNOTATION 14. If the giver sees that the receiver is going along in consolation and full of fervour, the giver should forewarn the exercitant against making any unthinking or precipitate promise or vow, and the more unstable in temperament the person is known to be, the more should that person be warned and admonished. It is true that one person can legitimately move another to enter a religious order, with the intention of making vows of obedience, poverty and chastity, and it is also true that a good work done under vow is more meritorious than one done without a vow. Nevertheless careful consideration must be given to the individual temperament and capabilities of the exercitant, as well as to the helps or hindrances that may be met in fulfilling promises that such a person might want to make.

[15] ANNOTATION 15. The one giving the Exercises ought not to move the one receiving them more to poverty or to any particular promise than to their contraries, nor to one state or way of life more than to another. Outside the Exercises it can indeed be lawful and meritorious for us to move all who seem suitable to choose continence, virginity, religious life and every form of evangelical perfection, but during these Spiritual Exercises it is more opportune and much better that the Creator and Lord communicate Himself to the faithful soul in search for the will of God, as He inflames5 her in His love and praise, disposing her towards the way in which she will be better able to serve Him in the future. Hence the giver of the Exercises should not be swayed or show a preference for one side rather than the other, but remaining in the middle like the pointer of a balance, should leave the Creator to work directly with the creature, and the creature with the Creator and Lord.

[16] ANNOTATION 16. For this, namely, that the Creator and Lord may work more surely in His creature, if the soul in question happens to be attached or inclined to something in an ill-ordered way, it is very useful for her to do all in her power to bring herself round to the contrary of that wrong attachment. This would be the case, for example, if a person were bent on seeking to obtain an appointment or benefice, not for the honour and glory of God Our Lord, nor for the spiritual good of souls, but for one’s own advancement and temporal interests. One must then set one’s heart on what is contrary to this, insisting upon it in prayers and other spiritual exercises, asking God Our Lord for the contrary, namely, not to want that appointment or benefice or anything else, unless the Divine Majesty gives a right direction to one’s desires and changes the first attachment, so that the motive for desiring or keeping this or that thing be solely the service, honour and glory of the Divine Majesty.

[17] ANNOTATION 17. There is much to be gained if the giver of the Exercises, while not wanting to ask about or know the exercitant’s selfchosen thoughts or sins, is given a faithful account of the different agitations and thoughts brought by the different spirits; because depending on the greater or lesser degree of progress, the director can give the exercitant some spiritual exercises that will be appropriate and suited to the needs of a soul agitated in a particular way.

[18] ANNOTATION 18. The Exercises are to be adapted to the capabilities of those who want to engage in them, i.e. age, education or intelligence are to be taken into consideration. Hence someone uneducated or of poor health should not be given things that cannot be undertaken without fatigue and from which no profit is to be derived. Similarly, in order that each may feel more at ease and derive the best benefit, what is given to each exercitant should be in accordance with his or her dispositions. Hence, one who is hoping to gain some instruction and to reach a certain level of peace of soul can be given the particular examen [Exx. 24–31], then the general examen [Exx. 32–43]; also together with this, for half an hour in the morning, the way of praying about the commandments, capital sins, etc [Exx. 238–48]. Such persons can also be recommended to confess their sins each week, and if possible to receive communion every fortnight, and better still every week, if they are so inclined. This arrangement is more suited to unformed and uneducated people, to whom explanations can be given of each commandment, each of the capital sins, the precepts of the church, the five senses, and the works of mercy. Likewise, should the giver of the Exercises see that the receiver has poor health or little natural capacity, or that not much fruit is to be expected of such a person, it is more suitable to give some less demanding exercises until the person has been to confession. Afterwards some [topics for] examen of conscience can be given and the instruction to confess more frequently, so that such a person may maintain the progress made. One should not go on to the election material or to the other exercises that are outside the First Week, especially when the exercitant can gain greater profit from other exercises and there is no time for everything.

[19] ANNOTATION 19. When a person is taken up with public affairs or necessary business, and is someone who is educated or intelligent, such a person can set aside an hour and a half a day for the Exercises. Then one can talk with such a person about the end for which human beings are created, as well as giving a half-hour for the particular examen, then the general examen and method of confessing and receiving communion. On three days this exercitant can make for one hour each morning the meditation on the first, second and third sins [Exx. 45–53]; later for another three days at the same hour the meditation on the sequence of sins [Exx. 55–61]; later for another three days at the same hour the meditation on the punishments that correspond to sins [Exx. 65–71] should be made, and during these three sets of meditations the ten additions [Exx. 73–90] should be given. For the mysteries of Christ Our Lord the same procedure will be followed, as is explained in detail further on in these same Exercises.

[20] ANNOTATION 20. To one who is more at liberty and desires to benefit as much as possible, all the Spiritual Exercises should be given in the exact order in which they are set down.6 As a general rule in making the Exercises, the more one disengages oneself from all friends and acquaintances, and from all worldly preoccupations, the more profit will there be. For example, one can change residence and go to a house or room so as to live there in the most complete privacy possible, with the opportunity to attend mass and vespers each day without fear of acquaintances getting in the way.

This withdrawal will have three principal advantages, among many others. The first is that when one separates oneself from many friends and acquaintances as well as from distracting business in order to serve and praise God Our Lord, one gains no small merit before the Divine Majesty. The second is that in this state of withdrawal, with one’s mind not divided amongst many things but entirely taken up with one thing alone, namely, serving one’s Creator and doing good to one’s soul, one is able to use one’s natural powers all the more freely in the diligent search for what one’s heart desires. The third, the more we are alone and by ourselves, the more capable we become of drawing near to and reaching our Creator and Lord, and the more we reach Him, the more we make ourselves ready to receive graces and gifts from His divine and supreme Goodness.

First Week

[21] SPIRITUAL EXERCISES HAVING AS THEIR PURPOSE THE OVERCOMING OF SELF AND THE ORDERING OF ONE’S LIFE ON THE BASIS OF A DECISION MADE IN FREEDOM FROM ANY ILLORDERED ATTACHMENT.

[22] PRESUPPOSITION

So that the director and the exercitant may collaborate better and with greater profit, it must be presupposed that any good Christian has to be more ready to justify than to condemn a neighbour’s statement. If no justification can be found, one should ask the neighbour in what sense it is to be taken, and if that sense is wrong he or she should be corrected lovingly. Should this not be sufficient, one should seek all suitable means to justify it by understanding it in a good sense.

[23] PRINCIPLE AND FOUNDATION

The human person is created to praise, reverence and serve God Our Lord, and by so doing to save his or her soul. The other things on the face of the earth are created for human beings in order to help them pursue the end for which they are created. It follows from this that one must use other created things in so far as they help towards one’s end, and free oneself from them in so far as they are obstacles to one’s end. To do this we need to make ourselves indifferent to all created things, provided the matter is subject to our free choice and there is no prohibition. Thus as far as we are concerned, we should not want health more than illness, wealth more than poverty, fame more than disgrace, a long life more than a short one, and similarly for all the rest, but we should desire and choose only what helps us more towards the end for which we are created.

[24] PARTICULAR DAILY EXAMEN

containing three times and two examens

The FIRST TIME is in the morning immediately on rising: the exercitant makes a firm resolve to take great care to avoid the particular sin or defect that he or she wants to correct and reform.

[25] The SECOND TIME comes after the mid-day meal, when one asks God Our Lord for what one wants, i.e. grace to remember how often one has fallen into that particular sin or defect, and to reform in the future. Then the exercitant makes the FIRST EXAMEN: it consists of demanding of oneself an account of the particular point proposed for correction and reform, running over each hour or each period of time, beginning from the hour of rising, up to the hour and moment of the present examen. On the first line of the diagram as many marks should be made as times one has fallen into the particular sin or defect. Then one should resolve again to do better up to the next examen to be made.

[26] The THIRD TIME is after supper, when the SECOND EXAMEN will be made in the same way, going from hour to hour from the first examen to this second one. On the second line of the same diagram as many marks should be made as the times one has fallen into the particular sin or defect.

[27] FOUR ADDITIONS

for getting rid of the particular sin or defect more quickly

ADDITION 1 Each time one falls into the particular sin or defect, one should put a hand to the breast in sorrow for having fallen. This can be done even in the presence of many people without their noticing.

[28] ADDITION 2 Since the first line of the diagram represents the first examen, and the second line the second examen, the exercitant can see at night if there is an improvement from the first line to the second, i.e. from the first examen to the second.

[29] ADDITION 3 The second day should be compared with the first, i.e. today’s two examens with yesterday’s two examens, to see if there is an improvement from one day to another.

[30] ADDITION 4 One week should be compared with another to see if there is an improvement between the present week and the preceding.

[31] NOTE The first two long lines in the following diagram7 stand for Sunday, the second shorter ones for Monday, the third for Tuesday, and so on.

Image

[32] GENERAL EXAMEN OF CONSCIENCE

in order to purify the soul and to make a better confession

I presuppose that there are three sorts of thought processes in me, one sort which are properly mine and arise simply from my free will and choice, and two other sorts which come from outside, one from the good spirit and the other from the bad.

[33] Thoughts

There are two ways of gaining merit when an evil thought comes from outside: the first – for example, if the thought of committing a mortal sin comes, I resist it promptly and it is overcome; [34] the second way of meriting is when the same bad thought comes to me and I resist it, it recurs again and again and I keep on resisting until the thought goes away defeated. This second way is more meritorious than the first.

[35] One sins venially when the same thought of committing a mortal sin comes and one gives ear to it, dwelling on it a little or taking some sensual enjoyment from it, or when there is some negligence in rejecting this thought.

[36] There are two ways of sinning mortally. The first is when one consents to a sinful thought in order to put one’s consent into immediate action, or to act on it if one could [37]. The second way of sinning mortally is when that sin is actually committed, and this is more serious for three reasons – (i) because more time is spent, (ii) because there is more intensity, (iii) because greater harm is done both to others and to oneself.

[38] Words

One should not swear either by the Creator or the creature except with truth, necessity and reverence. By ‘necessity’ I mean not when one swears to any kind of truth using an oath, but when the matter is one of importance, concerning the welfare of the soul or body, or involving temporal goods. By ‘reverence’ I mean that when invoking the name of one’s Creator and Lord one consciously pays to Him the honour and reverence that are His due.

[39] It is to be noted that although in a vain oath we sin more seriously when we swear by the Creator than when we swear by the creature, it is more difficult to swear as we ought – with truth, necessity and reverence – by the creature than by the Creator for the following reasons: FIRST. When we want to swear by some creature, the choice of invoking the creature does not make us as careful and alert about telling the truth, or affirming it with necessity, as would the choice of invoking the name of the Lord and Creator of all things. SECOND. In swearing by the creature it is not as easy to pay reverence and submission to the Creator as when swearing by and invoking the name of the Creator and Lord Himself, because the intention of invoking God Our Lord brings with it more submission and reverence than is aroused by the intention of invoking created things. Therefore it is more permissible for the perfect to swear by the creature than it is for the imperfect, because the perfect, thanks to constant contemplation and to an enlightened understanding, are more in the habit of considering, meditating and contemplating how God Our Lord is in every creature according to His own essence, presence and power, and so when swearing by the creature are better prepared and predisposed to pay homage and reverence to their Creator and Lord than are the imperfect. THIRD. With persistent swearing by the creature, the imperfect are in more danger than the perfect of falling into idolatry.

[40] One should not speak ‘idle words’,8 by which I understand those of no profit to either myself or to others, and those not directed to that end. Consequently to speak about anything that benefits or seeks to benefit my own soul or my neighbour’s, or that is for the good of the body or for temporal welfare, is never idle. Nor is it idle even to speak of things that do not belong to one’s state of life, e.g. if a religious speaks about wars or trade. Rather in all these cases there is merit in speaking to a well-ordered purpose, and sin in ill-directed or aimless talk.

[41] One should say nothing to defame another or to spread gossip, because if I make known a mortal sin which is not public knowledge, I sin mortally, and if the sin is venial, I sin venially, while if it is a defect, I show my own defect. But when there is a right intention there are two possible ways of speaking of the sin or fault of another: WAY 1. When the sin is public, as in the case of a public prostitute, and where a sentence has been passed in court, or a public error poisons the minds of those with whom one deals. WAY 2. When a hidden sin is revealed to someone so that such a person can help the sinner to rise from sin; however there should be some expectation or probable likelihood that help can be given.

[42] Deeds

One should take as subject-matter the Ten Commandments, the precepts of the Church and the recommendations of superiors; any action done against any of these three is a greater or smaller sin depending on the greater or lesser importance of the matter. By ‘recommendations of superiors’ I mean e.g. fasting dispensations and other indulgences, such as those granted for peace treaties, which can be obtained by confession and reception of the Blessed Sacrament, as there can be no little sin in inciting others to act or acting oneself against the religious exhortations and recommendations of those in authority.

[43] WAY OF MAKING THE GENERAL EXAMEN

containing five points

POINT 1: to give thanks to God for the benefits received.

POINT 2: to ask for grace to know one’s sins and reject them.

POINT 3: to ask an account of one’s soul from the hour of rising to the present examen, hour by hour, or from one period to another, first about thoughts, then about words and finally about deeds, following the order given in the particular examen [Exx. 25].

POINT 4: to ask God Our Lord for pardon for sins.

POINT 5: to determine to do better with His grace, ending with an Our Father.

[44] GENERAL CONFESSION AND COMMUNION

Anybody wanting of one’s own accord to make a General Confession will find in it three particular benefits amongst many others: (i) while granting that a person who goes to confession every year is not obliged to make a general confession, yet if such a person does make one, there is greater profit and merit because of the greater present sorrow being felt for all the sins and wrongs of one’s whole life; (ii) during the Spiritual Exercises one gains a greater interior knowledge of sins and of their malice than when one is not engaged in the same way with matters of the inner life; with the greater knowledge and grief for sins, one will have greater profit and merit than would previously have been had; (iii) as a consequence of making a better confession and being better disposed, the person is better prepared and readier to receive the Blessed Sacrament (the reception of which helps us not only to avoid falling into sin, but also to keep on increasing in grace). It is better to make this General Confession immediately after the exercises of the First Week.

[45] The First Exercise

A MEDITATION WITH THE THREE POWERS ON THE FIRST,

SECOND AND THIRD SINS

containing – after a preparatory prayer and two preambles9 – three principal points and a colloquy

[46]PRAYER The preparatory prayer is to ask God Our Lord for grace that all my intentions, actions and operations may be directed purely to the service and praise of His Divine Majesty.

[47] PREAMBLE 1 This is the composition,10 seeing the place.

It should be noted here that for contemplation or meditation about visible things, e.g. a contemplation about Christ Our Lord who is visible, the ‘composition’ consists in seeing through the gaze of the imagination the material place where the object I want to contemplate is situated. By ‘material place’ I mean e.g. a temple or a mountain where Jesus Christ or Our Lady is to be found, according to what I want to contemplate. Where the object is invisible, as is the case in the present instance dealing with sins, the composition will be to see with the gaze of the imagination and to consider that my soul is imprisoned in this body which will one day disintegrate, and my whole composite self as if exiled in this valley among brute beasts. When I say ‘my whole composite self’, I mean body and soul together.

[48] PREAMBLE 2 This is to ask God for what I want and desire.

The request must be adapted to the matter under consideration, so e.g. in contemplating the Resurrection one asks for joy with Christ joyful, but in contemplating the Passion one asks for grief, tears and suffering with the suffering Christ. Here I will ask for personal shame and confusion as I see how many have been damned on account of a single mortal sin, and how many times I deserved to be damned for ever on account of my numerous sins.

[49] NOTE Before any of the contemplations or meditations the preparatory prayer should always be made without any change, and also the two preambles mentioned, the latter being adapted at times to suit the matter under consideration.

[50] POINT 1 Bring the memory to bear on the first sin, which was that of the angels, then apply the intellect to the same event, in order to reason over it, and then the will, so that by seeking to recall and to comprehend all this, I may feel all the more shame and confusion, comparing the one sin of the angels with my many sins, for while they went to hell for one sin, how many times have I deserved hell for my many sins! When I say ‘bring to memory the sin of the angels’, I mean how they were created in grace, but as they did not want to avail themselves of their liberty in order to give reverence and obedience to their Creator and Lord, and fell into pride, they became changed over from grace to malice and were cast out of heaven into hell. Similarly afterwards one should go over the subject more in detail with the understanding, and then stir up the heart’s affections11 with the will.

[51] POINT 2 In the same way bring the three powers to bear on the case of the sin of Adam and Eve, calling to mind the long penance they did on account of that sin, and the corruption that came upon the human race, with so many people going their way toward hell. When I talk about recalling the second sin, that of our [first] parents, I mean how after Adam had been created in the plain of Damascus and placed in the earthly Paradise, and Eve had been created from his rib, they were forbidden to eat of the tree of knowledge. But they ate and by doing so sinned. Afterwards, dressed in tunics of skins and cast out of Paradise, they lived all their life without their original justice, which they had lost, in great labours and much penance. Then go over the subject in greater detail with the understanding, and use the will as has been explained above.

[52] POINT 3 Do the same for the third sin, the particular one of any individual who has gone to hell for a single mortal sin, and also the numberless other people who have gone to hell for fewer sins than I have committed. Do the same, I say, with regard to such a third sin, a particular one, calling to memory the gravity and malice of sin against one’s Creator and Lord, reflecting with the understanding how someone who has sinned and acted against the infinite goodness has justly been damned for ever, then end with the will as has been said.

[53] COLLOQUY Imagining Christ Our Lord before me on the cross, make a colloquy12 asking how it came about that the Creator made Himself man, and from eternal life came to temporal death, and thus to die for my sins. Then, turning to myself I shall ask, what have I done for Christ? what am I doing for Christ? what ought I to do for Christ? Finally, seeing Him in that state hanging on the cross, talk over whatever comes to mind.

[54] A colloquy, properly so-called, means speaking as one friend speaks with another, or a servant with a master, at times asking for some favour, at other times accusing oneself of something badly done, or telling the other about one’s concerns and asking for advice about them. And then say an Our Father.

[55] The Second Exercise

A MEDITATION ON SINS

containing – after the preparatory prayer and two preambles –

five points and a colloquy

PRAYER The preparatory prayer will be the same.

PREAMBLE 1 The first preamble will be the same composition.

PREAMBLE 2 This is to ask for what I want, and here it will be to ask for mounting and intense sorrow and tears for my sins.

[56] POINT 1 This is the record of my sins, i.e. I recall to my memory all the sins of my life, looking from year to year or from one period of time to another, and for this three things are helpful: (i) to see the place and house where I lived, (ii) the relations I have had with others, (iii) the occupation in which I have spent my life.

[57] POINT 2 I weigh up my sins, considering the intrinsic foulness and malice of each capital sin committed, quite apart from its being forbidden.

[58] POINT 3 I look at who I am, diminishing myself by means of comparisons: (i) What am I compared to all human beings? (ii) What are all human beings compared to all the angels and saints in Paradise? (iii) What can I alone be, as I look at what the whole of creation amounts to in comparison with God? (iv) I look upon all the corruption and foulness of my body, (v) I look at myself as though I were an ulcer or an abscess, the source of many sins and evils, and of great infection.

[59] POINT 4 I consider who God is, against whom I have sinned, going through His attributes and contrasting them with their opposites in myself: His wisdom with my ignorance, His almighty power with my weakness, His justice with my injustice, His goodness with my malice.

[60] POINT 5 Exclamations of wonder, with intense feeling, as I reflect on the whole range of created beings, how ever have they let me live and kept me alive! The angels, who are the sword of divine justice, how have they endured me, and looked after me, and prayed for me! How have the saints been able to intercede and pray for me! And then the heavens, the sun, the moon, the stars and the elements, the fruits, the birds, the fishes and the animals, how have they kept me alive till now!13 As for the earth, how has it not opened to engulf me, creating new hells where I might suffer for ever!

[61] COLLOQUY I will conclude with a colloquy about mercy. All my thoughts will be about mercy and I will thank God for giving me life up till now, proposing to do better in the future with His grace. Our Father.

[62] The Third Exercise

REPETITION OF THE FIRST AND SECOND EXERCISES

making three colloquies

After the preparatory prayer and the two preambles, repeat the First and Second Exercises, noting and dwelling upon the points where I have felt greater consolation or desolation or greater spiritual relish. I shall then go on to make three colloquies as follows.

[63] COLLOQUY 1 This is to be made to Our Lady, so that she will obtain grace for me from her Son and Lord for three things, (i) that I may feel an interior knowledge of my sins and an abhorrence for them, (ii) that I may feel a sense of the disorder in my actions, so that abhorring it I may amend my life and put order into it, (iii) I ask for knowledge of the world so that out of abhorrence for it I may put away from myself worldly and aimless things. Then a Hail Mary.14

COLLOQUY 2 The second colloquy is the same but to the Son, that He may obtain this for me from the Father. And then an Anima Christi.

COLLOQUY 3 The third, the same but to the Father, so that the eternal Lord Himself may grant me this. And after it an Our Father.

[64] The Fourth Exercise

RECAPITULATION OF THE THIRD EXERCISE

When I use the word ‘recapitulation’ I mean that the intellect, carefully and without digressing onto any other subject, should range over the memory of matters contemplated in the previous exercises, and make the same three colloquies.

[65] The Fifth Exercise

MEDITATION ON HELL

containing – after the preparatory prayer and the two preambles –

five points and a colloquy

PRAYER This should be as usual.

PREAMBLE 1 The composition here is to see with the eyes of the imagination the length, breadth and depth of hell.

PREAMBLE 2 The second preamble is to ask for what I want. Here it will be to ask for an interior sense of the suffering which the damned endure, so that if through my faults I should ever forget the love of the eternal Lord, at least the fear of punishments may help me not to fall into sin.

[66] POINT 1 This will be to look with the eyes of the imagination at the great fires and at the souls appearing to be in burning bodies.

[67] POINT 2 To hear with one’s ears the wailings, howls, cries, blasphemies against Christ Our Lord and against all the saints.

[68] POINT 3 To smell with the sense of smell the smoke, the burning sulphur, the cesspit and the rotting matter.

[69] POINT 4 To taste with the sense of taste bitter things, such as tears, sadness and the pangs of conscience.

[70] POINT 5 To feel with the sense of touch, i.e. how those in hell are licked around and burned by the fires.

[71] COLLOQUY As I make a colloquy with Christ Our Lord, I should recall to my memory the persons who are in hell, some because they did not believe in His coming, others who believed but did not act according to His commandments, so dividing them up into three categories, the first, those before His coming, the second, those during His lifetime, and the third, those after His lifetime. And with that I should give thanks to Him for not allowing me to fall into any of these categories by putting an end to my life. Likewise I should thank Him for His constant loving kindness and mercy towards me right up to the present moment. One concludes with an Our Father.15

[72] NOTE

The First Exercise will be made at midnight, the Second on rising in the morning, the Third before or after mass, as long as it is made before lunch, the Fourth at the time of vespers, the Fifth an hour before supper. I intend this timetable (more or less) to be applied always during the Four Weeks in so far as the age, constitution and temperament of the exercitant allow the person to do five exercises or fewer.

[73] Additions

THE PURPOSE OF THESE ADDITIONAL PRACTICES IS

TO HELP THE EXERCITANT TO MAKE THE EXERCISES BETTER,

AND TO FIND MORE COMPLETELY WHAT HE OR SHE DESIRES.

ADDITION 1 After going to bed and when wanting to go to sleep, I should think for the space of a Hail Mary at what time I have to get up, and for what purpose, going over the exercise I have to make.

[74] ADDITION 2 When I wake up I turn my attention at once (so as not to leave room for stray thoughts) to the subject I am about to contemplate in the First Exercise at midnight, arousing myself to confusion for my many sins by using comparisons, such as that of a knight coming before his king and all the court, full of shame and confusion on account of offences committed against the lord from whom in the past he has had many gifts and favours. Similarly for the Second Exercise, I see myself as a great sinner in chains, that is to say, as about to appear, bound, before the supreme and eternal Judge, recalling how chained prisoners appear for the death penalty before a judge here on earth. It is with thoughts like these, or others adapted to the subject matter under consideration, that I should dress myself.

[75] ADDITION 3 One or two paces before the place where I have to contemplate or meditate, I shall stand for the space of an Our Father with my mind raised up to consider how God Our Lord looks at me, etc, and then make a genuflexion or some other act of humility.

[76] ADDITION 4 I start on the contemplation, sometimes kneeling, sometimes prostrate on the ground, sometimes stretched out face upwards, sometimes seated, sometimes standing, but always intent on the search for what I want. We should pay attention to two points: (i) if I find what I want whilst kneeling, I shall go no further, and similarly if prostrate, etc; (ii) at the point at which I find what I want, I shall settle down, without any anxiety about going further until I have had my fill.

[77] ADDITION 5 At the end of the exercise I shall either sit down or walk around for a quarter of an hour while I consider how the contemplation or meditation has gone. If badly, I shall look to see what was the cause, and having found it, repent in order to do better in the future; and if well, I shall thank God Our Lord and proceed in the same way next time.

[78] ADDITION 6 We should not want to think about agreeable or glad things, e.g. final glory or resurrection etc, because feelings of grief, pain and tears for our sins are only impeded by thoughts about joy and gladness. Instead I should keep before me my wish to grieve and feel sorrow, and remind myself more of death and judgement.

[79] ADDITION 7 In order to obtain these same feelings I should deprive myself of light, closing shutters and doors whilst I am in my room, except when reciting the Office, reading and taking meals.

[80] ADDITION 8 I should avoid laughing or saying anything likely to provoke laughter.

[81] ADDITION 9 I should put a guard over my eyes, except when I receive or take leave of someone with whom I speak.

[82] ADDITION 10 This consists of penance, which can be divided into interior and exterior, the interior being grief for one’s sins with the firm determination not to commit those or any others, and the exterior, which is the fruit of the former, being the punishment we impose on ourselves for sins committed. There are three ways of inflicting it.

[83] (i) The first is in regard to food. In the matter of food, to go without the superfluous is not penance but temperance; penance begins when we go without what is in itself appropriate, and the more one does this, the greater and better is the penance, as long as the penitent’s health is not undermined and no serious illness results.

[84] (ii) The second regards the way we sleep. Here once again it is not penance to go without what is of finer quality and more comfortable, but penance begins when we go without what is suitable in the way we sleep; again the more this is done the better, as long as the penitent is not harmed and no serious illness results, and provided an exercitant does not go without the sleep needed, unless the person happens to have the bad habit of sleeping too much, and then only in order to arrive at a just mean.

[85] (iii) The third consists in chastising the body, i.e. inflicting physical pain, which can be done by wearing haircloth or cords or iron chains next to the skin, or by whipping and bruising oneself, and other sorts of austerities.

[86] NOTE The most practical and safest in regard to penance seems to be that the pain should be felt in the flesh and not penetrate to the bone, so that the result is pain and not illness. Therefore the most appropriate seems to be to strike oneself with thin cords, which cause external pain, rather than in some other way that may cause some possibly serious internal illness.

[87] NOTES ON THE ADDITIONAL PRACTICES

NOTE 1 Exterior penances are done chiefly to produce three results: (i) to make reparation for past sins, (ii) to master oneself, i.e. to make one’s sensual nature obedient to reason, and to make all the lower parts of the self more submissive to the higher, (iii) to seek and find some grace or gift that a person wants and desires, for instance, one may desire to have interior contrition for one’s sins, or to weep much either over one’s sins, or over the pains and sorrows endured by Christ Our Lord; or one may want to resolve some perplexity in which one finds oneself.

[88] NOTE 2 One should notice that Additions 1 and 2 are to be put into practice for the midnight and dawn exercises, but not for the exercises made at other times. Addition 4 is never to be put into practice in church in the presence of other people, but only in private, e.g. at home, etc.

[89] NOTE 3 When the exercitant does not find what is desired, e.g. tears, consolations, etc, it is often very advantageous to make some alteration in eating, and sleeping, and in other penitential practices, so that the exercitant practises some penances for two or three days and then leaves them off for another two or three. This is because it suits some people to do more penance, and others to do less, and also because quite often we give up penance through sensuality or wrongly judging that the human physique cannot withstand the stress without serious illness, and at other times on the contrary we overdo penance thinking that the body can endure it. As God Our Lord knows our nature infinitely better than we do, He often allows us to perceive through such alterations what is suitable for each.

[90] NOTE 4 The particular examen is to be directed towards getting rid of faults and negligences in the practice of the Exercises and Additions. This holds for the Second, Third and Fourth Weeks as well.

Second Week

[91] THE CALL OF THE EARTHLY KING16

WILL HELP US TO CONTEMPLATE THE LIFE OF THE ETERNAL KING.

PRAYER The preparatory prayer will be the same.

PREAMBLE 1 This is the composition, seeing the place, and here it will be to see with the eyes of the imagination synagogues, towns and villages where Christ Our Lord went preaching.

PREAMBLE 2 I ask for the grace I want; here I ask Our Lord for grace not to be deaf to His call, but alert to fulfil His most holy will to the best of my ability.

[92]

[PART I]

POINT 1 I put before me a human king chosen by the hand of God Our Lord, to whom all Christian leaders and their followers give their homage and obedience.

[93] POINT 2 I watch how this king speaks to all his own saying:

‘My will is to conquer all the land of the infidels! Therefore all those who want to come with me will have to be content with the same food as I, the same drink, the same clothing, etc. Such persons will also have to work with me by day, and keep watch by night, etc, so that in this way they will afterwards share with me in the victory, as they have shared with me in the labours.’

[94] POINT 3 I consider what reply good subjects should make to such an open and kindly king, and on the other hand, if anyone refused to accept the request of such a king, how greatly such a person would deserve to be blamed by everyone and to be judged an unworthy knight.

[95]

PART II

consists in applying the above example of the earthly king to Christ Our Lord, following the three points mentioned:

POINT 1 If such a call made by an earthly king to his subjects is worthy of our consideration, how much more is it worthy of consideration to see Christ Our Lord, the eternal King, and before Him the entire human race, as to all and to each one in particular His call goes out, ‘My will is to conquer the whole world and every enemy, and so enter into the glory of my Father! Therefore all those who want to come with me will have to labour with me, so that by following me in my suffering, they may also follow me into glory.’

[96] POINT 2 We should consider that all who have judgement and reason will offer themselves completely for the task.

[97] POINT 3 Those who will want to respond in a spirit of love, and to distinguish themselves by the thoroughness of their commitment to their eternal King and universal Lord, will not only offer themselves bodily for the task, but rather by going against their sensuality and their carnal and worldly love will offer greater and more important sacrifices, saying, [98] ‘Eternal Lord of all things, I make my offering, with your favour and help, before your infinite Goodness, and before your glorious Mother and all the saintly men and women of the court of heaven! My resolute wish and desire, and my considered determination – on the sole condition that this be for your greater service and praise – is to imitate you in enduring every outrage and all contempt, and utter poverty, both actual and spiritual, if your most holy Majesty wants to choose me and receive me into that life and state.’

[99] NOTE 1 This exercise will be made twice in the day, viz. on rising in the morning and one hour before dinner or supper.

[100] NOTE 2 For the Second Week, as well as for the future, it is very helpful to read from time to time from the Imitation of Christ, or from the Gospels, or lives of saints.

[101] First Day: First Contemplation

ON THE INCARNATION

containing the preparatory prayer, three preambles, three points and a colloquy

PRAYER The usual preparatory prayer.

[102] PREAMBLE 1 The first preamble is to recall the narrative of the subject to be contemplated, in this case how the three Divine Persons were looking at all the flatness or roundness of the whole world filled with people, and how the decision was taken in Their eternity,17 as They saw them all going down into hell, that the second Person would become human to save the human race. Thus when ‘the fullness of time’18 came They sent the angel Gabriel to Our Lady [Exx. 262].

[103] PREAMBLE 2 The composition, seeing the place, which here will be to see the great extent of the round earth with its many different races; then, in the same way, see the particular house of Our Lady and its rooms in the town of Nazareth in the province of Galilee.

[104] PREAMBLE 3 I ask for what I want: here I ask for interior knowledge of the Lord who became human for me so that I may better love and follow Him.

[105] NOTE It may be well to note here that this same preparatory prayer (without any change, as was mentioned at the beginning [Exx. 49]), along with the same three preambles, should be made in this Week and in those following, but adapting the form according to the matter under consideration.

[106] POINT 1 This is to see the various kinds of persons: first, those on the face of the earth, in all their diversity of dress and appearance, some white and some black, some in peace and others at war, some weeping and others laughing, some healthy, others sick, some being born and others dying, etc; second, I see and consider the three divine Persons, as though They are on the royal throne of their Divine Majesty, how They look down on the whole round world and on all its peoples living in such great blindness, and dying and going down into hell; third, I see Our Lady and the Angel who greets her. And I should reflect in order to draw profit from such a sight.

[107] POINT 2 This is to hear what the people on the face of the earth talk about, i.e. how they talk with each other, how they swear and blaspheme, etc. In the same way what the Divine Persons are saying, viz., ‘Let us bring about the redemption of the human race, etc’. Then what the Angel and Our Lady are talking about. And I should reflect to draw profit from their words.

[108] POINT 3 Next I look at what the people on the face of the earth are doing, e.g. wounding, killing, and going to hell, etc, and in the same way, what the Divine Persons are doing, that is, accomplishing the sacred Incarnation, etc, and similarly, what the Angel and Our Lady are doing, the Angel fulfilling his role of legate and Our Lady humbling herself and giving thanks to the Divine Majesty. Then I reflect in order to profit from each of these things.

[109] COLLOQUY At the end a colloquy is to be made. I think about what I ought to be saying to the three Divine Persons, or to the eternal Word incarnate, or to His mother, Our Lady, and I make a request, according to my inner feelings, so that I may better follow and imitate Our Lord, thus newly incarnate, saying an Our Father.

[110] SECOND CONTEMPLATION

on the Nativity

PRAYER The usual preparatory prayer.

[111] PREAMBLE 1 The narrative here will be how Our Lady, almost nine months pregnant (as we may devoutly think of her19) and seated on a donkey, with Joseph and a servant girl, taking with them an ox, set out from Nazareth for Bethlehem to pay the tribute which Caesar had imposed on all those lands [Exx. 264].

[112] PREAMBLE 2 Composition, seeing the place. Here it will be to see with the eyes of the imagination the road from Nazareth to Bethlehem, considering the length and breadth of it, whether it is a flat road or goes through valleys or over hills; and similarly to look at the place or grotto of the Nativity, to see how big or small it was, how low or high, and what was in it.

[113] PREAMBLE 3 The same, and in the same form, as in the preceding contemplation [Exx. 104].

[114] POINT 1 This is to see the people, i.e. Our Lady, and Joseph, and the servant girl, and the child Jesus after his birth. Making myself into a poor and unworthy little servant, I watch them, and contemplate them, and serve them in their needs as if I were present, with all possible submission and reverence; and afterwards I reflect within myself to derive some profit.

[115] POINT 2 I watch, and notice and contemplate what they are saying, and then reflect within myself to derive some profit.

[116] POINT 3 I watch and consider what they are doing, e.g. their travel and efforts, so that Christ comes to be born in extreme poverty and, after so many labours, after hunger, thirst, heat and cold, outrages and affronts, he dies on the cross, and all of this for me; then I reflect within myself to derive some spiritual profit.

[117] COLLOQUY I end with a colloquy as in the preceding contemplation [Exx. 109], and then an Our Father.

[118]

THIRD CONTEMPLATION

the repetition of the First and Second Exercises

After the preparatory prayer and the three preambles the repetition of Exercises 1 and 2, will be made, attention always being given to any more important places where one has experienced new insight, consolation or desolation, and making a colloquy in the same way at the end, with an Our Father.

[119] [NOTE] In this and all subsequent repetitions the same order of procedure will be followed as in the repetitions of the First Week, changing the matter and keeping the form.

[120]

FOURTH CONTEMPLATION

the repetition of the First and Second Contemplations made in the same way as the preceding repetition

[121] FIFTH CONTEMPLATION

this is to bring the five senses to bear20 on the First and Second Contemplations

After the preparatory prayer and the three preambles, it is helpful to pass the five senses of the imagination over the First and Second Contemplations in the following manner.

[122] POINT 1 To see the persons with the imaginative sense of sight, meditating and contemplating their circumstances in detail, and to draw some profit from what I see.

[123] POINT 2 To hear with the sense of hearing what they say or could say, and to reflect within oneself to draw some profit from this.

[124] POINT 3 To smell and to taste, with the senses of smell and taste, the infinite gentleness and sweetness of the divinity, and21 of the soul, and of its virtues, and of everything else (according to whoever the person contemplated may be), and to reflect within oneself and draw profit from this.

[125] POINT 4 To touch with the sense of touch, for example, embracing and kissing the places where these persons tread and sit, always seeking to derive profit from this.

[126] COLLOQUY One should finish with a colloquy as in the First and Second Contemplations [Exx. 109,117], and with an Our Father.

[127] [NOTES]

NOTE 1 It should be noted that in the course of this and the following weeks I should read only the mystery of the contemplation that I have to make immediately; thus for the time being I should not read any mystery that is not to be made on that day or at that time, so that the consideration of one mystery may not interfere with the consideration of another.

[128]NOTE 2 The first exercise on the Incarnation is to be made at midnight, the second at dawn, the third at mass time, the fourth at the time of vespers, and the fifth before supper; an hour is to be spent on each of the five exercises, and the same order will be kept in all that follows.

[129] NOTE 3 It should be noted that if the exercitant is old or weak, or if this person, although robust, has been left weakened in some way by the First Week, it is better for such an exercitant at least occasionally in this Second Week not to rise at midnight, but to make one contemplation in the morning, another at mass time, another before dinner, and a repetition of these at the time of vespers, and finally to make the prayer of the senses before supper.

[130] NOTE 4 In this Second Week, changes should be made to some of the Additional practices mentioned in the First Week, viz. the second, the sixth, the seventh and (partly) the tenth [Exx. 74, 78, 79, 82].

RE ADDITION 2 Immediately on waking I shall put before myself the contemplation which I have to make, with the desire to know all the more the eternal Word Incarnate, so as the better to serve and follow Him.

RE ADDITION 6 I shall frequently call to mind the life and mysteries of Christ Our Lord, beginning from His Incarnation as far as the place or mystery that I am engaged in contemplating.

RE ADDITION 7 In the use to be made of darkness or light, and of agreeable or unsettled weather, the criterion is the profit and help the exercitant can derive in the search for what that person desires.

RE ADDITION 10 The exercitant must act in harmony with the mysteries being contemplated, as some demand penance and others do not.

In this way all the ten Additional practices are to be very carefully observed.

[131] NOTE 5 In all the Exercises, except those at midnight and in the morning, the equivalent of the second Additional practice [Exx. 74] is to be observed as follows: as soon as I remember that it is time for the exercise I have to do, before beginning I put before myself where I am going and into whose presence, and I run briefly over the exercise to be done; then I make the third Addition [Exx. 75] and start on the exercise.

[132]

SECOND DAY

One should take for the First and Second Contemplations the Presentation in the Temple [Exx. 268] and the Flight into Egypt as into exile [Exx. 269]; two repetitions and the bringing to bear of the senses should be made on these two contemplations, in the same way as on the preceding day.

[133]

NOTE

Sometimes it is helpful for the exercitant, even if robust and in the right dispositions, to change the timetable from this second day until the fourth (inclusive), in order better to find what one desires, and to make only one contemplation at dawn and another at the time of mass, then to make the repetition on these at the time of vespers and to make the prayer of the senses before supper.

[134]

THIRD DAY

Contemplate how the Child Jesus was obedient to His parents at Nazareth [Exx. 271], and how afterwards they found Him in the Temple [Exx. 272], then later make the two repetitions and the prayer of the senses.

[135]

PREAMBLE FOR THE CONSIDERATION OF

STATES OF LIFE

The example given us by Christ Our Lord of the first state of life, the observance of the Commandments, has been considered in the contemplation of His obedience to His parents; we have considered too his example of the second state, evangelical perfection, when He stayed in the Temple, leaving His adopted father and natural mother, to devote Himself to the exclusive service of His heavenly Father; now we shall begin, at the same time as we contemplate His life, to inquire and ask in which life or state the Divine Majesty wishes to use us. By way of introduction to that we shall see (in the first exercise that follows) the intention of Christ Our Lord and on the contrary that of the enemy of human nature, as well as the attitudes we must acquire to reach perfection in whatever state of life God Our Lord may offer us for our choice.

[136]

FOURTH DAY

A MEDITATION ON TWO STANDARDS,

  one that of Christ our Commander-in-Chief and Our Lord,

the other that of Lucifer, the deadly enemy of our human nature

PRAYER The usual preparatory prayer.

[137] PREAMBLE 1 This is the narrative: here it will be how Christ calls and desires all to place themselves under His standard, and how Lucifer on the contrary wants everyone under his.

[138] PREAMBLE 2 The composition, seeing the place: here it will be to behold a great plain extending over the entire region around Jerusalem, where the Commander-in-Chief of all the good is Christ Our Lord, and another plain in the region of Babylon, where the enemy leader is Lucifer.

[139]PREAMBLE 3 I ask for what I want: here it will be to ask for knowledge of the deceptions practised by the evil leader and for help to guard against them, and also for knowledge of the true life revealed by the supreme and true Commander, and for grace to imitate Him.

[140]POINT 1 This point is to imagine the leader of all the enemy powers as if he were enthroned in that great plain of Babylon, upon something like a throne of fire and smoke, a horrible and fearsome figure.

[141]POINT 2 To consider how he calls up innumerable demons, and how he then disperses them, some to one city and others to another, thus covering the entire world, omitting no region, no place, no state of life, nor any individual.

[142]POINT 3 To consider the address he makes to them, ordering them to lay traps for people and to bind them with chains. They are to tempt them first to crave after riches (the enemy’s usual tactic), so that they might come more readily to the empty honours of the world, and in the end to unbounded pride. Therefore the first step is riches, the second, honour, and the third, pride; from these three steps the enemy leads people on to every other vice.

[143]

On the other hand, we are to apply the imagination to

the supreme and true commander, Christ our Lord

[144] POINT 1 This is to consider Christ Our Lord taking his stand in a great plain in that region of Jerusalem, in a lowly place, His appearance comely and gracious.

[145] POINT 2 To consider how the Lord of all the world selects so many persons, as apostles, disciples, etc, and sends them out over the whole world spreading His sacred doctrine among all people of every state and condition.

[146] POINT 3 To consider the address which Christ Our Lord delivers to His servants and friends as He sends them out on this enterprise. He recommends them to be ready to help everyone; first, by drawing everyone to the highest spiritual poverty; and if His Divine Majesty be thereby served and should be pleased to choose them for it, not less to actual poverty; and secondly, by drawing everyone to the desire for insults and contempt. For from these two things follows humility. Therefore there are three steps, first, poverty as opposed to riches, second, insults and contempt as opposed to worldly fame, and thirdly, humility as opposed to pride; from these three steps they can lead everyone to all the other virtues.

[147] COLLOQUY 1 A colloquy with Our Lady, asking her to obtain for me grace from her Son and Lord that I be received under His standard, first in the highest spiritual poverty, but also, if His Divine Majesty requires this and should be pleased to choose and receive me for it, in actual poverty, second, in suffering insults and reproaches, so as to imitate Him more closely, provided only that I can suffer these without sin on the part of any other person and without displeasure to His Divine Majesty; and then a Hail Mary.

COLLOQUY 2 To ask the same of the Son that He may obtain it for me from the Father, and then say an Anima Christi.

COLLOQUY 3 To ask the same of the Father that He would grant it to me Himself, and say an Our Father.

[148] NOTE This exercise will be made at midnight and again in the morning, with two repetitions (at the time of mass and at the time of vespers); it should always conclude with the three colloquies, with Our Lady, with the Son, and with the Father. The following exercise, on the Three Classes, is to be made at the hour before supper.

[149]

ALSO ON THE FOURTH DAY

the meditation on three classes of persons22

so that we may embrace whatever is the better

PRAYER The usual preparatory prayer.

[150] PREAMBLE 1 The first preamble is the narrative. Three persons have each acquired 10,000 ducats; but not purely, and as would have been right for the love of God. Since they all want to be saved and to meet God Our Lord in peace, they wish to become free from the burden and obstacle arising from the attachment they feel to the thing they have acquired.

[151] PREAMBLE 2 Composition, seeing the place: here it will be to see myself standing in the presence of God Our Lord and of all His saints in order to desire and to know whatever is more pleasing to His Divine Goodness.

[152] PREAMBLE 3 To ask for what I want: here it will be to ask for the grace to choose what is more for the glory of His Divine Majesty and for the salvation of my soul.

[153] CLASS 1 The first class of person would like to be rid of their attachment to what he or she has acquired, in order to meet God in peace and ensure their salvation, but they take no means to bring this about until the hour of their death.

[154] CLASS 2 Those of the second class want to be free of their attachment, but they want this to be in such a way that they will still retain possession of what they have; so God is to approve what they themselves want, and there is no decision to relinquish it (in order to go to God), even if it might be better for them if they did.

[155] CLASS 3 Those of the third class want to be rid of their attachment; moreover they want to be rid of it in such a way that they also have no inclination to retain their acquisition or not to retain it, but all they want is simply that their wanting or not wanting it should be in accordance with whatever God Our Lord inclines them to want, and as might appear to be more for the service and praise of His Divine Majesty. In the meantime they want to act as if they had already given up the whole sum, as far as their affections are concerned, and they draw upon all their powers to want neither this particular thing nor anything else, unless it be solely the service of God Our Lord that moves them. Thus it is the desire to be better able to serve God Our Lord that will move them to accept the thing or leave it.

[156] THREE COLLOQUIES Make the same three colloquies that were made in the preceding contemplation on the Two Standards.

[157] NOTE It is to be noted that when we feel attachment [to riches] or repugnance with regard to actual poverty, when we are not indifferent towards poverty or riches, it is a great help towards extinguishing such a disordered attachment to ask in the colloquies (even though it goes against our natural inclination) that Our Lord should choose us for actual poverty, and to desire, request, indeed beg for this, provided it be for the service and praise of His Divine Majesty.

[158]

FIFTH DAY

contemplation on the departure of Christ Our Lord from

Nazareth and His journey to the River Jordan, and his baptism


[Exx. 273]

[159] NOTE I This contemplation is to be made at midnight, and again in the morning, with two repetitions, at mass time and at the time for vespers, and before supper one should bring the senses to bear upon it. At the beginning of each of these five exercises come the usual preparatory prayer and the three preambles, in accordance with all that has been explained in the contemplation on the Incarnation [Exx. 101] and the Nativity [Exx. 110]; and one should end with the triple colloquy of the three classes of persons [Exx. 156, 147] or according to the Note which follows the three classes [Exx. 157].

[160] NOTE 2 The particular examen after dinner and supper will be made on the faults and negligences in the Exercises and Additional practices of this day, and similarly for the following days.

[161]

SIXTH DAY

a contemplation on how Christ Our Lord went from the River Jordan

into the desert (inclusive
23) [Exx. 274]

keeping to the same arrangement in everything as on the Fifth Day.

SEVENTH DAY

on how St Andrew and others followed Christ Our Lord [Exx. 275]

EIGHTH DAY

on the Sermon on the Mount, i.e. on the eight beatitudes [Exx. 278]

NINTH DAY

on how Christ Our Lord appeared to His disciples on the waves of the sea [Exx. 280]

TENTH DAY

on how the Lord preached in the Temple [Exx. 288]

ELEVENTH DAY

on the raising of Lazarus [Exx. 285]

TWELFTH DAY

on Palm Sunday [Exx. 287]

[162] NOTES

NOTE 1 In the contemplations of this Second Week, the exercitant can prolong or shorten the week according to the time that one may want to give, or according to the progress being made. To lengthen it one can take the mysteries of the Visitation of Our Lady to St Elizabeth, of the shepherds, of the Circumcision of the child Jesus, the three Kings, and others as well; and to shorten it, one can even drop some of the mysteries proposed, because what is given here is an introduction and method so that afterwards contemplation may be better and more fully made.

[163] NOTE 2 The material dealing with Elections will be taken up from the contemplation on Nazareth to that on the Jordan (including the latter), i.e. the Fifth Day, in the way that is explained in what follows.

[164] NOTE 3 Before beginning on Elections, it will greatly help the exercitant to embrace whole-heartedly the true teaching of Christ Our Lord if he or she considers attentively the following three kinds of humility, spending time occasionally during the whole day turning them over, and in the same way making the three colloquies, as will be explained later [Exx. 168].

[165] [Three kinds of humility]

FIRST KIND OF HUMILITY This is the kind that is necessary for my eternal salvation, and consists in subjecting and humbling myself, as far as I can, so that I obey the law of God Our Lord in everything; so much so that even if I were made the lord of all created things in this world, or even if my own life on this earth were at stake, I would not deliberately set about breaking any law, whether divine or human, that obliges me under pain of mortal sin.

[166] SECOND KIND OF HUMILITY The second is more perfect than the first. I have it if I find myself at a point where I do not desire, nor even prefer, to be rich rather than poor, to seek fame rather than disgrace, to desire a long rather than a short life, provided it is the same for the service of God and the good of my soul; and along with this I would not deliberately set about committing a venial sin, even for the whole of creation or under threat to my own life.

[167] THIRD KIND OF HUMILITY This is the most perfect humility. It is present when – given that the first and second kinds are included, and supposing equal praise and glory of the Divine Majesty – in order to imitate Christ Our Lord and to be actually more like him, I want and choose poverty with Christ poor rather than wealth, and ignominy with Christ in great ignominy rather than fame, and I desire more to be thought a fool and an idiot for Christ, who first was taken to be such, rather than to be thought wise and prudent in this world.

[168] NOTE For anyone who desires to obtain this third kind of humility it will, therefore, be a great help to make the three colloquies mentioned for the three classes of persons [Exx. 156, 147], asking that Our Lord may be pleased to choose one for this third higher and best level of humility so as the better to imitate and serve Him, provided that it may be for the equal or greater service and praise of the Divine Majesty.

[Elections]

[169] PREAMBLE FOR MAKING AN ELECTION

In24 every good election, in so far as it depends on us, the eye of our intention must be simple, looking only at what I have been created for, viz. the praise of God Our Lord and the salvation of my soul, and therefore whatever I choose must help me towards the end for which I have been created, and I must not make the end fit the means, but subordinate the means to the end. But what happens in fact is that many first of all choose marriage, which is a means, and secondly the service of God in married life, although this service of God is the end; and similarly there are others who first of all want church benefices, and afterwards to serve God in them. The result is that such people do not go straight to God, but they want God to come straight to their disordered attachments. They make a means of the end, and an end of the means, and so they put last what they ought to put first. Our objective should be in the first place the desire to serve God, which is the end, and in the second place, to accept a benefice or to marry, should one of those be better for me, since those are means to the end. To sum up, nothing ought to induce me to take up or reject such means except the service and praise of God Our Lord and the eternal salvation of my soul.

[170]

DIRECTIVES

for finding out the matters on which an election should be made

containing four points and a note

POINT 1 It is necessary that all the things about which we want to make an election be morally indifferent or good in themselves, and that they are on the side of our holy mother, the hierarchical Church, and are not bad or opposed to the Church.

[171] POINT 2 Some things involve an unchangeable choice, e.g. the priesthood, marriage etc., others a changeable one, e.g. accepting or giving up benefices, acquiring or renouncing material possessions.

[172] POINT 3 In the case of an unchangeable election, if such has already been made, there are no further grounds for election since it cannot be undone. So in the case of priesthood, marriage etc., the only point to be considered is that if the election has not been made properly and with due order (i.e. without disordered attachments), one should repent and try to lead a good life within the state one has chosen. It does not look as if such an election is a divine vocation, since it is disordered and biased, even though many deceive themselves in this, considering that a vocation can be divine which comes from a biased or bad election, whereas a divine vocation is always pure and clear, without any mingling of lustful inclination or of any other disordered attachment.

[173] POINT 4 In matters that fall under changeable choice, if the election was made in a proper and rightly ordered way, without admixture of natural inclination or worldly criteria, about things that are subject to a changeable choice, there is no reason for making the election once more, but rather one should try to become perfect to the best of one’s ability in the way of that choice.

[174] NOTE It should be noted that when such a changeable election has not been made sincerely and in due order, then if the exercitant really wants to bear outstanding fruits, very pleasing to God Our Lord, it will be to the exercitant’s advantage to make it properly.

[175] THREE TIMES

in any of which a sound and good election can be made

FIRST TIME This is when God Our Lord so moves and attracts the will that without doubting or being able to doubt, such a dedicated soul follows what is shown, just as St Paul and St Matthew did when they followed Christ Our Lord.

[176] SECOND TIME A time when sufficient light and knowledge is received through experience of consolations and desolations, and through experience of the discernment of different spirits.25

[177] THIRD TIME This is a tranquil time. One considers first of all the purpose for which human beings exist, viz. to praise God Our Lord and to save their souls. Desiring this end, one chooses as means some life or state within the limits set by the Church, in order to find thereby a help to the service of one’s Lord and the salvation of one’s soul. I called this a ‘tranquil’ time as then the soul is not disturbed by different spirits and can use her natural powers freely and calmly.

[178] If the election is not made in the first and second times, there follow here two ways of making it in the third.

THE FIRST WAY

to make a sound and good election in the third time containing six points

POINT 1 To put before myself the subject about which I want to make the election, e.g. a position in life or a benefice to be accepted or refused, or anything else that is subject to a changeable election.

[179] POINT 2 It is necessary to keep as my objective the end for which I was created, viz. to praise God Our Lord and save my soul, and at the same time to be in an attitude of indifference, free from any disordered attachment, so that I am not more inclined or attracted to accepting what is put before me than to refusing it, nor to refusing it rather than to accepting it. Rather I should be as though at the centre of a pair of scales, ready to follow in any direction that I sense to be more to the glory and praise of God Our Lord and the salvation of my soul.

[180] POINT 3 To ask God Our Lord to be pleased to move my will and bring to my mind what I ought to do that is most for His praise and glory about the matter before me, while I use the powers of my understanding well and faithfully, and choose in conformity with His most holy will and good pleasure.

[181] POINT 4 To consider and think over rationally the advantages or benefits I would gain by holding (solely for the praise of God Our Lord and the good of my soul) the proposed position or benefice, and on the other hand to consider in the same way the disadvantages and dangers in holding it. Do the same with the alternative; look at the advantages and benefits of not holding it, and conversely the disadvantages and dangers in not holding it.

[182] POINT 5 After having thought over and reflected in this way from every point of view on the matter before me, I shall look to which side reason most inclines, and thus it is according to the stronger movement of the reason, and not through any sensual inclination, that one should make up one’s mind on the matter before one.

[183] POINT 6 Once such an election or deliberation has been made, the person who has made it should turn with great diligence to prayer, placing him- or herself before God Our Lord, and offering Him this election, so that His Divine Majesty may be pleased to accept and confirm it, if it is to His greater service and praise.

[184]

THE SECOND WAY

to make a sound and good election in the third time

containing four rules and a note

RULE 1 This rule is that the love which moves me and makes me choose something has to descend from above, from the love of God; so the person who makes the choice must first of all feel interiorly that the love, greater or lesser, felt for the object chosen is solely for the sake of one’s Creator and Lord.

[185] RULE 2 I should look at the case of a person whom I have never seen or known, and for whom I desire full perfection; I consider what I would tell such a person to do and what election to make for the greater glory of God Our Lord and the greater perfection of that person’s soul. Then as my case is the same, I should do the same myself, and keep the rule that I lay down for another.

[186] RULE 3 If I were at the point of death, consider what procedure and what criteria I would then wish to have followed in making the present election. Make my own decision entirely according to this rule.

[187] RULE 4 I should look at and consider my situation on the Day of Judgement, and think how at that moment I would want to have chosen in the present matter; and adopt now the rule that I would then want to have observed, so that then I may be filled with happiness and joy.

[188] NOTE Following the rules just mentioned for my salvation and eternal rest, I shall make my election and offering to God, in accordance with Point 6 of the First Way of making an election [Exx. 183].

[189] FOR THE AMENDMENT AND REFORM OF ONE’S PERSONAL LIFE AND STATE

In the case of those already established in ecclesiastical positions or in marriage (whether or not they are well off in material possessions), this is to be noted. If such people lack either the occasion or the readiness to make a choice about matters that are subject to a changeable election, it can be very helpful for them, instead of making an election, to be given a framework and method by which to amend and reform themselves in their personal lives and states. This requires them to commit their existence, life and state to the glory and praise of God Our Lord and the salvation of their souls. In order to reach and attain this end, each one, by means of the Exercises and the ways of election explained above, should consider and ponder: what size of house and staff one should have, how one ought to manage and direct it, what should one’s words and example inculcate there, and with regard to one’s income, how much should be allocated to the dependants and house, how much should be given to the poor and to other good works. In such matters one should seek nothing other than the greater praise and glory of God Our Lord in and through everything. Thus everyone must bear in mind that one will make progress in spiritual things in the measure in which one shall have put off self-love, self-will and self-interest.

Third Week

[190]

First Day

FIRST CONTEMPLATION, AT MIDNIGHT,

how Christ Our Lord went from Bethany to Jerusalem, including the Last Supper [Exx. 289],

containing the preparatory prayer, three preambles, six points and a colloquy

PRAYER The usual preparatory prayer.

[191] PREAMBLE 1 This is to recall the narrative; here it is how Christ Our Lord from Bethany sent two disciples to Jerusalem to prepare the supper, and afterwards went there Himself with the other disciples; after having eaten the paschal lamb and finished supper, He washed their feet and gave His most holy body and precious blood to His disciples. After Judas had gone off to sell his Lord, he spoke to them at length.

[192] PREAMBLE 2 Composition, seeing the place; here it will be to consider the road from Bethany to Jerusalem, whether it is broad or narrow, level etc; similarly, the place of the supper, whether it is large or small, and what it looks like.

[193] PREAMBLE 3 To ask for what I want; here it will be for grief, deep feeling and confusion because it is for my sins that the Lord is going to the Passion.

[194] POINT 1 To see the people at the supper, and by reflecting within myself to try and draw some profit from them.

POINT 2 To hear what they are saying, and in the same way draw some profit from it.

POINT 3 To watch what they are doing, and draw some profit.

[195] POINT 4 To consider what Christ Our Lord suffers in His human nature, or is willing to suffer, depending on the episode that one is contemplating; and here I should start to draw upon all my powers to grieve, to feel sorrow and to weep; in the same way I should labour through each of the other points that follow.

[196] POINT 5 To consider how the divine nature goes into hiding, i.e. how Christ as divine does not destroy His enemies, although He could do so, but allows Himself in His sacred human nature to suffer most cruelly.26

[197] POINT 6 To consider how He suffers all this for my sins, etc, and what I myself ought to do and suffer for Him.

[198] COLLOQUY To end with a colloquy to Christ Our Lord, and finally with an Our Father.

[199] NOTE It should be noted, as has already been partly explained, that in the colloquies we should talk things over and make petitions according to our present situation, i.e. depending on whether I am in a state of temptation or consolation, on whether I desire to have this or that virtue, on whether I want to choose one direction or another, on whether I want to grieve or rejoice over what I am contemplating; to sum up, I ask for what I most earnestly desire concerning certain particular things. In this way I can make a single colloquy to Christ Our Lord, or if the topic or a special devotion moves me, I can make three colloquies, one to the Mother, one to the Son, one to the Father, in the form indicated in the Second Week in the meditation on the three classes of persons [Exx. 156, 147], with the Note there [Exx. 157].

[200]

SECOND CONTEMPLATION, IN THE MORNING,

from the Last Supper to the garden (inclusive) [Exx. 290]

PRAYER The usual preparatory prayer.

[201] PREAMBLE 1 The narrative here will be how Christ Our Lord with His eleven disciples came down from Mount Sion, where He had had the supper, to the valley of Josaphat; here He left eight of them in a place in the valley and the other three in a part of the garden, and putting Himself in prayer, His sweat became like drops of blood; next he prayed three times to the Father and awakened His disciples; next, at His voice, the enemies fell to the ground, and Judas gave Him the kiss of peace; St Peter cut off the ear of Malchus, and Christ put it back in place; He was arrested as a criminal, and they take Him down into the valley and up the slope to the house of Annas.

[202] PREAMBLE 2 One sees the place: here it will be to consider the road from Mount Sion to the valley of Josaphat, and also the garden, whether wide, whether long, whether of one form or of another.

[203] PREAMBLE 3 It is proper to prayer on the Passion to ask for grief with Christ in grief, to be broken with Christ who is broken, and for tears and interior suffering on account of the great suffering that Christ has endured for me.

[204]

[NOTES]

NOTE 1 In this Second Contemplation, after the preparatory prayer with the three preambles mentioned above, the same method of procedure for the points and colloquy will be followed as in the First Contemplation (of the Last Supper). Two repetitions will be made on the First and Second Contemplations at the times of mass and vespers, and before supper the prayer of the senses should be made on the same two contemplations, always beginning with the preparatory prayer and the three preludes, adapted to the matter under consideration, in the way mentioned and explained in the Second Week [Exx. 119,159].

[205] NOTE 2 In accordance with the age, constitution and temperament of the exercitant, all five exercises or fewer will be made each day.

[206] NOTE 3 In this Third Week there are modifications to be made to the Additional practices, viz. the second and the sixth [Exx. 74, 78].

RE ADDITION 2 As soon as I wake up, I put before myself where I am going and for what purpose, and I run briefly over the contemplation I want to make, whatever the mystery may be, making a great effort, while getting up and dressing, to sorrow and grieve over all the great grief and suffering of Christ Our Lord.

RE ADDITION 6 The modification here is that I shall make no attempt to evoke joyful thoughts, not even good and holy ones about subjects like resurrection and final glory, but rather bring myself to grieve, to suffer and to feel broken, calling frequently to mind the labours, weariness and grief suffered by Christ Our Lord from the moment of His birth up to the mystery of the Passion, in which I am at present engaged.

[207] NOTE 4 The particular examen will be made on the Exercises and these Additional practices, as in the previous Week [Exx. 160].

[208]

SECOND DAY

At midnight, on what happened from the Garden to the house of Annas (inclusive) [Exx. 291]; in the morning, from the house of Annas to the house of Caiaphas [Exx. 292]; later the two repetitions and the prayer of the senses, in the way that has already been said [Exx. 204].

THIRD DAY

At midnight, from the house of Caiaphas to Pilate (inclusive) [Exx. 293]; in the morning, from Pilate to Herod (inclusive) [Exx. 294]; and then the repetitions and the senses in the way that has already been said [Exx. 204].

FOURTH DAY

At midnight, from Herod to Pilate [Exx. 295], taking in and contemplating the first half of the mysteries which happened in Pilate’s house; then in the morning exercise, the other mysteries which happened in the same house; the repetitions and senses as has been said [Exx. 204].

FIFTH DAY

At midnight, from the house of Pilate up to the nailing to the cross [Exx. 296]; in the morning, from the raising up on the cross to His death [Exx. 297]; later, the two repetitions and the senses [Exx. 204].

SIXTH DAY

At midnight, from the taking down from the cross to the tomb (not including the last mystery) [Exx. 298]; in the morning, from the tomb mystery (to be included) up to the house where Our Lady went after her Son was buried.

SEVENTH DAY

A contemplation of the Passion as a whole in the exercises at midnight and in the morning, and instead of the two repetitions and the senses, one should consider throughout the whole day, as frequently as possible, how the most holy body of Christ Our Lord remained detached and separated from the soul, and where and how it was buried: similarly, one should consider the loneliness of Our Lady with her grief and exhaustion, and then, on the other hand, the loneliness of the disciples.

[209] NOTE It should be noted that anyone who wants to spend more time on the Passion should take fewer mysteries in each contemplation, e.g. in the first, only the Last Supper, in the second, the washing of the feet, in the third, the giving of the Eucharist to the disciples, in the fourth, Christ’s discourse, and so on for the other contemplations and mysteries. Again, after finishing the Passion, one can take half of the entire Passion for one full day, the other half on a second day, and the whole Passion on a third day. On the other hand, someone wanting to spend less time on the Passion can take at midnight the Last Supper, in the morning, the garden, at the time of mass, the house of Annas, at the time of vespers, the house of Caiaphas, and for the hour before supper, the house of Pilate. In this way, without repetitions or the prayer of the senses one can make five different exercises each day with a different mystery of Christ Our Lord in each exercise. After finishing the whole Passion in this way, such a person can on another dayjnake one exercise on the whole Passion, or several exercises, or whichever seems likely to be more profitable.

[210] Rules for the future ordering of one’s life as regards eating

RULE 1 There is less to be gained in restraint from eating bread, since bread is not a food about which the appetite is usually as uncontrolled, or the temptation as urgent, as is the case with other foods.

[211] RULE 2 With regard to drink, restraint seems more appropriate than in the eating of bread; so one ought to observe carefully what is beneficial and to be admitted, and what is harmful and to be cut out.

[212] RULE 3 Where delicacies27 are concerned, one ought to observe the strictest and most complete restraint, for since in this matter the appetite is more inclined to excess, so temptation is more urgent. Restraint in order to avoid disorder with regard to delicacies can be practised in two ways: (i) by getting into the habit of eating plain fare, (ii) by taking delicacies only in small amounts.

[213] RULE 4 Provided one takes care not to fall ill, the more one can cut back on one’s normal intake, the sooner will one arrive at the just mean in eating and drinking. There are two reasons for this: (i) by predisposing and adapting oneself in this way, very frequently one will experience increased inner promptings, consolations and divine inspirations, enabling one to discover what is the just mean; (ii) if one finds that in cutting back in this way one lacks either the bodily strength or the inclination for spiritual exercises, one will easily come to a decision about what is more suitable for the sustenance of the body.

[214] RULE 5 While eating one should imagine that one is seeing Christ Our Lord eating with His apostles, considering the way He drinks, the way He looks, and the way He talks, and then try to imitate Him; thus the higher part of the mind is taken up with considering Our Lord, and the lower with feeding the body, and so one attains a more perfect harmony and order in the way one should behave and conduct oneself.

[215] RULE 6 At other times, when eating, one can think over the lives of the saints, or some religious contemplation, or some spiritual matter that has to be undertaken; for when attention is given to something like this, less pleasure and sensual enjoyment is taken in the body’s food.

[216] RULE 7 Above all, one should take care not to become wholeheartedly engrossed in what one is eating, and not to be carried away by one’s appetite at meals; instead one should be in control of oneself, both in the manner of eating and in the quantity eaten.

[217] RULE 8 To become free from disordered habits it is very helpful to decide after dinner or supper, or at some other time when one has no appetite for food, what amount of food will be enough for the next dinner or supper, and similarly each day to decide the amount that it is fitting to eat; then no matter how hungry and tempted one may be, one should not exceed this quantity, but rather, if tempted to eat more, one should eat less, the better to overcome one’s disordered appetite and the temptation of the enemy.

Fourth Week

[218]

FIRST CONTEMPLATION

How Christ appeared to Our Lady [Exx. 299]

PRAYER The usual preparatory prayer.

[219] PREAMBLE 1 The narrative. After Christ died on the cross His body remained separated from the soul, but still united with the divinity, and His blessed soul, also united with the divinity, descended into Hell; from here He released the souls of the just; then returning to the tomb and having risen, He appeared in body and soul to His blessed Mother.

[220] PREAMBLE 2 Composition, seeing the place. Here it will be to see the arrangement of the Holy Sepulchre, and the lodging or house of Our Lady, looking in detail at all its parts, with her room, oratory, etc.

[221] PREAMBLE 3 To ask for what I want, and here it will be to ask for grace to feel gladness and to rejoice intensely over the great glory and joy of Christ Our Lord.

[222] POINTS 1, 2, 3 These three points will be the usual ones that we had for the Last Supper of Christ Our Lord [Exx. 194].

[223] POINT 4 To consider how the divine nature, which seemed to go into hiding in the Passion, now appears and reveals itself so miraculously in the most holy Resurrection, producing really true and holy effects.

[224] POINT 5 To observe how Christ Our Lord fulfils the office of consoler, and to draw comparisons with the way friends are accustomed to console one another.

[225] COLLOQUY To finish with a colloquy, in accordance with the matter under consideration, and an Our Father.

[226] [NOTES]

NOTE 1 In the following contemplations all the mysteries of the Resurrection are to be gone through in the way indicated below [Exx. 299–312], up to and including the Ascension. For the rest, the same arrangement and procedure are to be adopted and kept throughout the whole week of the Resurrection as were maintained in the week of the Passion [Exx. 204]. Hence this First Contemplation on the Resurrection may be taken as a guide with regard both to the preambles, which are adapted according to the matter under consideration, and also the five points, which remain the same. The Additions given below [Exx. 229] also remain the same. In everything else, for example the repetitions, five senses, and the shortening or lengthening of the mysteries, etc [Exx. 204, 209], one can take as guide the arrangement of the Third Week of the Passion.

[227] NOTE 2 In this Fourth Week, it is usually more appropriate than in the three preceding weeks to make four exercises and not five: the first will be immediately on rising in the morning; the second, at the time of mass or before lunch in place of the first repetition; the third, at the time of vespers in place of the second repetition; the fourth, before supper, will be the prayer of the senses on the three exercises of the day; in this one should note and pause at the most important points and the places where greater movements of spiritual relish may have been experienced.

[228] NOTE 3 Though a fixed number of points, e.g. three or five, have been given in all the contemplations, the person who is contemplating can take more or fewer points as best suits that person. For this purpose it is very helpful before beginning the contemplation to estimate and number the particular number of points to be taken.

[229] NOTE 4 In this Fourth Week there are modifications to be made to the following out of the Additional practices: Additions 2, 6, 7 and 10 [Exx. 73–82].

RE ADDITION 2 As soon as I wake up, I put before myself the contemplation I have to make, deliberately wanting to be moved and to rejoice in the great joy and gladness of Christ Our Lord.

RE ADDITION 6 I tall to mind and think about things that cause happiness, gladness and spiritual joy, such as final glory.

RE ADDITION 7 One can take advantage of the light and of the pleasures of the seasons, e.g. refreshing coolness in the summer, in the winter of the sunshine or the warmth of a fire,28 in so far as one seems likely to be helped by these things to rejoice in the Creator and Redeemer.

RE ADDITION 10 Instead of practising penance one should look to temperance and the just mean in everything, except where the Church’s precepts about fasting and abstinence apply, for these must always be observed, unless there is some legitimate impediment.

[Additional material]

[230] Contemplation for attaining love

NOTE It will be good to notice two things at the start: (i) love ought to find its expression in deeds more than in words; [231] (ii) love consists in mutual communication, i.e. the lover gives and communicates to the beloved whatever the lover has, or something of what the lover has or is able to give, and the beloved in turn does the same for the lover. Thus one who possesses knowledge will give it to the one without it, and similarly the possessor of honour or wealth shares with the one who lacks these, each giving to the other.

PRAYER The usual preparatory prayer.

[232] PREAMBLE 1 The composition, which here is to see how I am before God Our Lord, and before the angels and the saints who intercede for me.

[233] PREAMBLE 2 To ask for what I want. Here it will be to ask for interior knowledge of all the good I have received so that acknowledging this with gratitude, I may be able to love and serve His Divine Majesty in everything.

[234] POINT 1 This is to bring to memory the benefits received – creation, redemption, and particular gifts – pondering with great affection how much God Our Lord has done for me, and how much He has given me of what He has; and further, how according to His divine plan, it is the Lord’s wish, as far as He is able, to give me Himself; then to reflect and consider within myself what, in all reason and justice, I ought for my part to offer and give to His Divine Majesty, that is to say, everything I have, and myself as well, saying, as one making a gift with great love:

‘Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess. You gave it all to me; to you Lord I give it all back. All is yours, dispose of it entirely according to your will. Give me the grace to love you,29for that is enough for me.’

[235] POINT 2 To see how God dwells in creatures – in the elements, giving being, in the plants, causing growth, in the animals, producing sensation, and in humankind, granting the gift of understanding – and so how He dwells also in me, giving me being, life and sensation, and causing me to understand. To see too how He makes a temple of me, as I have been created in the likeness and image of His Divine Majesty. Again, to reflect within myself in the way indicated in Point 1, or in some other way I feel to be better. The same procedure is to be followed in each of the following points.

[236] POINT 3 To consider how God works and labours on my behalf in all created things on the face of the earth, i.e. ‘He behaves in the same way as a person at work’,30 as in the heavens, elements, plants, fruits, cattle, etc, He gives being, conserves life, grants growth and feeling, etc. Then to reflect within myself.

[237] POINT 4 To see how all that is good and every gift descends from on high; so, my limited power descends from the supreme and infinite power above, and similarly justice, goodness, pity, mercy, etc, as rays descend from the sun, and waters from a fountain. Then to finish reflecting within myself, as has been said [Exx. 235].

[COLLOQUY] End with a colloquy and an Our Father.

[238] Three Ways of praying

WAY 1 1. ON THE COMMANDMENTS

The first way of praying is concerned with the Ten Commandments, the Seven Capital Sins, the Three Powers of the Soul, and the Five Senses of the Body. This way of praying aims more at providing a framework, a method, and certain exercises by which to prepare oneself and make progress in order that prayer may be acceptable to God, rather than at giving any framework or method of prayer properly so-called.

[239] [PREPARATION] First of all, the equivalent of the second Additional practice, as explained in the Second Week [Exx. 131], should be made: i.e. before entering into prayer I shall allow the spirit to rest a little, by sitting down or strolling about, as seems best to me, while considering where I am going and for what purpose. This same Addition is to be observed at the start of each of the Ways of praying [Exx. 250, 528].

[240] PRAYER A preparatory prayer should be made, such as asking God Our Lord for grace to be able to know my failings in relation to the Ten Commandments. I should ask as well for grace and help to do better in the future, and for a perfect understanding of the Commandments so that I may keep them better for the greater glory and praise of His Divine Majesty.

[241] [POINTS] This first way of praying should be made as follows: I consider and think over the First Commandment: how have I kept it? how have I failed to keep it? I stay with this as a rule for the time it takes to say three Our Fathers and three Hail Marys. If in this time I discover failings, I ask forgiveness and pardon for them, and say an Our Father. The same procedure is to be repeated for each of the Ten Commandments.

[242] [NOTE I] It should be noted that if one finds one is not in the habit of sinning against the particular Commandment under consideration, there is no need to spend so long over it; but according as one offends more against a Commandment or less, so one should spend more time or less in the consideration and examination of it. This norm holds good for the capital sins as well.

[243] NOTE 2 After talking over all of the Commandments in this way, having acknowledged my sin with regard to them, and asked for grace and help to do better in the future, I should end with a colloquy to God Our Lord adapted to the matter under consideration.

[244]

WAY I (CONT.) 2. ON THE CAPITAL SINS

Concerning the Seven Capital Sins, after the Additional practice [Exx. 239] one should make the preparatory prayer, in the way already mentioned [Exx. 240]; the only change is that here the subject-matter is sins to be avoided, whereas beforehand it was Commandments to be observed; the same order and rule is to be followed as already explained, and the colloquy [Exx. 241–43].

[245] For a better knowledge of one’s faults in relation to the Seven Capital Sins, one should look at their contraries; and similarly, the more surely to avoid these sins, one should resolve and endeavour by means of devout exercises to acquire and keep the Seven Virtues opposed to them.

[246]

WAY I (CONT.) 3. ON THE POWERS OF THE SOUL

With regard to the Three Powers of the Soul, the same order and rule are to be followed as for the Commandments, making the Additional practice, the preparatory prayer and the colloquy [Exx. 239–43].

[247]

WAY I (CONT.) 4. ON THE FIVE BODILY SENSES

with regard to the Five Bodily Senses, the same procedure is to be kept, changing only the subject-matter.

[248] NOTE Should one wish to imitate Christ Our Lord in the use of the senses, one should commend oneself to His Divine Majesty in the preparatory prayer, then after considering with each sense say a Hail Mary or an Our Father. And if one wishes to imitate Our Lady in the use of the senses, one should commend oneself to her in the preparatory prayer, so that she may obtain that grace from her Son and Lord, then after considering each sense, say a Hail Mary.

[249]

WAY 2 OF PRAYING

consists in contemplating the meaning

of each word of a prayer

[250] ADDITION In this second Way of praying the addition will be the same as for the first [Exx. 239].

[251] PRAYER The preparatory prayer will be appropriate to the person to whom the prayer is directed.

[252] [POINTS] The second way of praying is as follows. One either kneels or sits, according to one’s disposition and to the devotion one experiences. Keeping one’s eyes closed or fixed on one spot, without allowing the gaze to wander, one says the word ‘Father’, staying with this word for as long as one finds meanings, comparisons, relish and consolation in considerations related to it. One should do this for each word of the Our Father, or for any other prayer that one may wish to take for praying in this way.

[253] RULE 1 One should spend an hour on the whole of the Our Father, keeping to the procedure just given; then after finishing this, one says the Hail Mary, the Creed, the Anima Christi and the Hail Holy Queen, vocally or mentally in the usual way.

[254] RULE 2 If the person contemplating the Our Father finds in one or two words rich matter for reflection, and much relish and consolation, that person should not be anxious to go further, even though the whole hour is spent on what has been found; when the hour is up, the remainder of the Our Father should be said in the usual way.

[255] RULE 3 If a person has spent a complete hour on one or two words of the Our Father, when wanting to go back to the same prayer on another day, that person should say those one or two words in the usual way and then begin the contemplation on the word immediately following them, in the manner explained in Rule 2.

[256] NOTE 1 It should be noted that when the Our Father has been completed – either in one day or several – the same procedure should be followed with the Hail Mary, and then with the other prayers, so that over a period of time one will always be exercising oneself in one of them.

[257] NOTE 2 When a prayer is ended, one should turn to the person to whom the prayer has been addressed, and in a few words ask for the virtues or graces for which one feels greater need.

[258]

WAY 3 OF PRAYING

by rhythm

ADDITION This will be the same as for Ways 1 and 2 of praying [Exx. 239,250].

PRAYER The preparatory prayer will be the same as for Way 2 [Exx. 251].

[POINTS] The third Way of praying consists in praying mentally with each breath or respiration, by saying one word of the Our Father or of any other prayer being said, so that only a single word is pronounced between one breath and the next. In the interval between each breath, attention is especially paid to the meaning of that word, or to the person to whom one is praying, or to one’s own lowliness, or to the distance between the other’s greatness and one’s own lowliness; one goes through the other words of the Our Father keeping to the same arrangement and rules; then one says the other prayers, i.e. Hail Mary, Anima Christi, Creed and Hail Holy Queen in the usual way.

[259] RULE 1 One should say the Hail Mary rhythmically on another day or at another time when one wants to pray, and then the other prayers in the usual way; and subsequently take the other prayers in turn and follow the same procedure.

[260] RULE 2 Whoever wants to remain longer on the prayer by rhythm can recite all the prayers mentioned above, or fewer of them, but keeping the same system of rhythmic breathing already explained.

Image

[261] The Mysteries of the life of Christ Our Lord

NOTE In the following mysteries all the words in quotation marks are from the Gospel itself,31 and the other words are not. For most of the mysteries three points are given to make it easier to meditate or contemplate the mysteries.

[262]

The Annunciation of Our Lady

Luke 1:25–38

1 The angel St Gabriel, greeting Our Lady, indicated to her the conception of Christ Our Lord: ‘The angel, entering where Mary was, greeted her saying to her, “Hail Mary, full of grace; you will conceive in your womb and bear a son”’.

2 The angel confirms what he said to Our Lady by indicating the conception of St John the Baptist, saying to her: ‘“And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has conceived a son in her old age”’.

3 Our Lady replied to the angel: ‘“Behold the handmaid of the Lord; may it be done unto me according to your word”’.

[263]

The Visitation of Our Lady to Elizabeth

Luke 1:39–56

1 When Our Lady visited Elizabeth, St John the Baptist, while in his mother’s womb, became aware of the visit Our Lady had made: ‘And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Our Lady, the child felt joy in her womb; and Elizabeth, full of the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Blessed may you be among women, and blessed the fruit of your womb”’.

2 Our Lady sings the canticle, saying: ‘“My soul magnifies the Lord”’.

3 ‘Mary was with Elizabeth about three months, and then she returned to her house.’

[264]

The Nativity of Christ Our Lord

Luke 2:1–14

1 Our Lady and her husband Joseph go from Nazareth to Bethlehem: ‘Joseph went up from Galilee to Bethlehem, to acknowledge his subjection to Caesar, with Mary, his wife, a woman already pregnant’.

2 ‘She bore her first-born son, and wrapped him in clothes, and placed him in the manger.’

3 ‘There came a multitude of the heavenly army, which said, “Glory to God in the heavens”.’

[265]

On the shepherds

Luke
2:8–20

1 The nativity of Christ Our Lord is made known to the shepherds by the angel: ‘“I declare to you a great joy, because today the Saviour of the world has been born”’.

2 The shepherds go to Bethlehem: ‘They came with haste and found Mary, and Joseph, and the child placed in the manger’.

3 ‘The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising the Lord.’

[266]

The Circumcision

Luke
2:21

1 They circumcised the child Jesus.

2 ‘The name by which he is called is Jesus, the name given to him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.’

3 They gave the child back to his mother, who felt compassion at the blood that flowed from her son.

[267]

The Three Kings, the Magi

Matthew
2:1–12

1 The three kings, the Magi, came guided by a star to adore Jesus, saying: ‘“We saw his star in the East, and we came to adore him”’.

2 They adored him and they offered him gifts: ‘Prostrating themselves on the ground they adored him and they presented him gifts: gold, incense and myrrh.’

3 ‘They received a reply, while they were asleep, that they should not return to Herod, and they returned to their region by another way.’

[268]

The Purification of Our Lady

and the Presentation of the child Jesus

Luke
2:22–29

1 They bring the child Jesus into the Temple, so that he can be presented to the Lord as a firstborn, and they offer for him ‘a pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons’.

2 Simeon, coming into the Temple, ‘took him in his arms’, saying, ‘“Now, Lord, leave your servant in peace”’.

3 Anna, ‘coming afterwards, acknowledged the Lord and talked about him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Israel’.

[269]

The Flight into Egypt

Matthew
2:13–15

1 Herod wanted to kill the child Jesus, and so he killed the innocents; and before their death, the angel warned Joseph to fly into Egypt: ‘“Rise up and take the child and his mother and fly into Egypt”’.

2 He left for Egypt: ‘Who, rising up at night, left for Egypt’.

3 He stayed there until the death of Herod.

[270]

The Return of Our Lord from Egypt

Matthew
2:19–23

1 The angel warned Joseph to return to Israel: ‘“Rise up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel”’.

2 Rising he came to the land of Israel.

3 As Archelaus, the son of Herod, was ruling in Judaea, he withdrew to Nazareth.

[271]

The Life of Christ Our Lord

from the age of twelve to the age of thirty

Luke 2:51–52

1 He was obedient to his parents. ‘He grew in wisdom, age and grace.’

2 It seems that he practised the craft of a carpenter, as St Mark [Mark 6:3] indicates with the remark, ‘“Is this man by any chance that carpenter?”’

[272]

Christ’s coming into the Temple when he was aged twelve

Luke
2:41–50

1 Christ Our Lord, at the age of twelve, went up from Nazareth to Jerusalem.

2 Christ Our Lord stayed in Jerusalem, and his parents did not know it.

3 After three days had gone by, they found him disputing in the Temple, and sitting in the midst of the doctors; and when his parents asked him where he had been, he replied: ‘“Do you not know that it is appropriate for me to be in the things that are my Father’s?”’

[273]

The Baptism of Christ

Matthew
3:13–17

1 Christ Our Lord, after having said farewell to his blessed mother, came from Nazareth to the River Jordan, where John the Baptist was.

2 Saint John baptized Christ Our Lord, and when he wanted to offer excuses, judging that he was unworthy to baptize Christ, the latter said to him: ‘“Do this on the present occasion, because it is necessary for us to fulfil in this way all that is just”’.

3 ‘The Holy Spirit came and the voice of the Father from heaven asserting: “This is my beloved son, with whom I am very satisfied”’.

[274]

The Temptations of Christ Luke

4:1–13, Matthew 4:1–11

1 After he had been baptized, he went to the desert, where he fasted forty days and forty nights.

2 He was tempted by the enemy on three occasions: ‘The tempter, going up to him, says, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to turn into bread”; “Throw yourself down from here”; “All that you see, I shall give you if you prostrate yourself on the ground and adore me”’.

3 ‘The angels came and served him.’

[275]

The Call of the Apostles

1 It seems that St Peter and St Andrew were called on three occasions: (i) with a hint (cf. John 1:[35–42]); (ii) to follow Christ to some extent, but with the intention of returning to own what they had left behind (Luke 5:[I–II]); (iii) to follow Christ Our Lord for ever (Matthew 4:[18–22]).

2 He called Philip (John I:[43–51]) and Matthew (Matthew 9:[9]).

3 He called the other apostles, even if the Gospels make no mention of their special vocations.

There are three other things that ought to be considered: (i) how the apostles were from the uneducated and lower classes; (ii) the dignity to which they were so gently called; (iii) the gifts and graces by which they were raised above all the fathers of the New and Old Testaments.

[276]

The First Miracle performed at the Marriage Feast at Cana

John
2:1–11

1 Christ Our Lord was invited along with his disciples to the marriage.

2 The mother informs the son about the lack of wine, saying: ‘“They have no wine”’, and orders the waiters, ‘“Do whatever he tells you”’.

3 ‘He changed the water into wine, and showed his glory, and his disciples believed in him.’

[277]

Christ Our Lord drove the sellers out of the Temple

John
2:13–25

1 He threw all the sellers out of the Temple with a whip made of cords.

2 He overturned the tables and coins of the rich bankers who were in the Temple.

3 To the poor who were selling pigeons he gently said: ‘“Take those things away from here and avoid making my house into a market-place”’.

[278]

The Sermon on the Mount

Matthew
5:1–48

1 He speaks separately to his beloved disciples about the eight beatitudes: ‘“Blessed the poor in spirit, the gentle, the merciful, those who weep, those who undergo hunger and thirst for the sake of justice, the pure of heart, the peacemakers, and those who suffer persecutions.”’

2 He exhorts them to make good use of their talents: ‘“So may your light shine before all people that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father, who is in the heavens”’.

3 He shows himself to be not a transgressor of the Law, but one who brings it to completion, explaining the precepts not to kill, not to commit fornication, not to perjure, and to love enemies: ‘“I tell you that you should love your enemies and do good to those who abhor you”’.

[279]

Christ Our Lord stilled the tempest at sea

Matthew
8:23–27

1 While Christ Our Lord was asleep at sea, there came a great storm.

2 His terrified disciples woke him, and he rebukes them for their little faith, saying to them: ‘“What do you fear, men of little faith?”’

3 He ordered the winds and the sea to stop, and with their stopping the sea became calm, so much so that the men were amazed, saying: ‘“Who is this, that wind and sea obey him?”’

[280]

Christ Our Lord walking on the sea

Matthew
14:22–33

1 While Christ Our Lord was on the mountain he made his disciples go to the little boat, and when he had sent away the crowd, he began to pray on his own.

2 The skiff was being threatened by the waves; then Christ came to it walking over the water, and the disciples thought that it was a ghost.

3 As Christ said to them, ‘“It is I, do not be afraid”’, St Peter at Christ’s command came to him, walking over the water; then having doubts, he began to splash about, but Christ Our Lord saved him, and he rebuked him for his little faith; later when Christ entered the skiff, the wind dropped.

[281]

The Sending of the Apostles to Preach

Matthew
10:1–42

1 Christ calls his beloved disciples and gives them power to expel demons from people’s bodies and to cure all sicknesses.

2 He taught them about prudence and patience: ‘“Look! I am sending you like sheep among wolves; therefore be prudent like serpents and simple like doves”’.

3 He instructs them how they should go: ‘“Do not desire to possess gold or silver; whatever you receive free of charge, give out free of charge”’, and he instructs them on what they should preach: ‘“Go and preach saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven has drawn near’ ”’.

[282]

The Conversion of the Magdalen

Luke
7:36–50

1 While he was sitting at table in the house of the Pharisee the Magdalen entered there, carrying an alabaster vase full of ointment.

2 Taking a position behind the Lord, near to his feet, she began to sprinkle them with her tears and to wipe them with the hair of her head, and she kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.

3 As the Pharisee was accusing the Magdalen, Christ speaks in her defence saying: ‘“Many sins are forgiven her because she loved much”, and he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you, go in peace”’.

[283]

The Feeding by Christ of the Five Thousand

Matthew
14:13–21

1 As it was becoming late, the disciples ask Christ to send away the multitude of men who were with him.

2 Christ Our Lord ordered that the loaves should be brought to him, and ordered that all should sit down at table, and he blessed and broke and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples gave them to the multitude.

3 ‘They ate and had their fill, and twelve baskets were left over.’

[284]

The Transfiguration of Christ

Matthew
17:1–9

1 Taking in his company the beloved disciples, Peter, James and John, Christ Our Lord transfigured himself, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothing like snow.

2 He talked with Moses and Elijah.

3 When St Peter said that they should make three tabernacles, a voice sounded from heaven saying, ‘“This is my beloved son; listen to him”’, and his disciples on hearing this voice fell on their faces out of fear, and Christ Our Lord touched them saying, ‘“Rise up and have no fear: tell no one about this vision until the Son of man rises from the dead”’.

[285]

The Raising of Lazarus

John
11:1–45

1 Martha and Mary inform Christ Our Lord about the illness of Lazarus, and when he knew of it, he held back for two days so that the miracle might be more obvious.

2 Before he raises him, he asks both of them to believe, saying: ‘“I am the resurrection and the life; anyone who believes in me, though dead, will live”’.

3 After having wept and prayed, he raises him; and the way he raised him was by ordering him, ‘“Lazarus, come out”’.

[286]

The Supper at Bethany

Matthew
26:6–10

1 The Lord sups in the house of Simon the leper, together with Lazarus.

2 Mary pours the ointment over the head of Christ.

3 Judas speaks disparagingly: ‘“Why all this waste of ointment?”’ But Christ defends Magdalen once more, saying: ‘“Why are you troubling this woman, since she has performed a kindness to me?”’.

[287]

Palm Sunday

Matthew
21:1–17

1 The Lord sends for the ass and the colt, saying, ‘“Untie them and bring them to me; and if anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and at once he will allow you”’.

2 He mounted the ass that was covered with the apostles’ garments.

3 People come out to receive him, spreading their clothes and the branches of the trees on the road, and saying: ‘“Save us, Son of David! Blessed be he who comes in the name of the Lord! Save us on high!”’

[288]

The Preaching in the Temple

Luke
19:47–48

1 He was teaching every day in the Temple.

2 When the preaching was finished, as there was nobody to welcome him in Jerusalem, he would go back to Bethany.

[289]

The Last Supper

Matthew
26:17–30, John 13:1–30

1 He ate the Paschal Lamb with his twelve apostles, to whom he foretold his death: ‘“In truth I tell you that one of you is going to sell me”’.

2 He washed the feet of the disciples, even those of Judas, beginning with St Peter, who did not want to consent to this, as he had in mind the majesty of the Lord and his own lowliness, saying: ‘“Lord, are you washing my feet?”’ but he did not know that Christ was giving an example of humility in this way, which is why he said, ‘“I have given you an example, so that you should do as I have done”’.

3 He instituted the most holy sacrifice of the Eucharist, as the greatest sign of his love, saying: ‘“Take and eat”’; when the supper is finished, Judas goes out to sell Christ Our Lord.

[290]

The Mysteries performed between

the Last Supper and the Garden (inclusive)

Matthew
26:30–46, Mark 14:26–42

1 When the supper was finished and the hymn had been sung, the Lord went to the Mount of Olives with his disciples, who were full of fear; and he left eight of them in Gethsemane with the words, ‘“Sit down here while I go over there to pray”’.

2 Accompanied by St Peter, St James and St John, he prayed three times to the Lord, saying: ‘“Father, if it is possible, may this chalice pass from me; nevertheless, not my will but yours be done”’; and being in an agony, he prayed all the more profusely.

3 He began to feel such fear that he said, ‘“My soul is sad even unto death”’, and he sweated blood so abundantly that St Luke says, ‘His sweat was like drops of blood that ran to the ground’, which implies that his garments were full of blood.

[291]

The Mysteries performed between

the Garden and the House of Annas (inclusive)

Matthew
26, Luke 22, Mark 14

1 The Lord allows himself to be kissed by Judas and arrested like a thief, while saying to them: ‘“You have come out to arrest me with sticks and arms as if I were a thief, whereas I was with you teaching every day in the Temple and you did not arrest me”’; and when he said, ‘“Which person are you looking for?”’, the enemies fell to the ground.

2 St Peter wounded the servant of the High Priest; then the gentle Lord said to him, ‘“Put your sword back in its place”’, and he cured the servant’s wound.

3 Deserted by his disciples, Christ is brought to Annas, where St Peter, who had followed him from a distance, denied him once; and Christ was struck a blow in the face, with the words, ‘“Is that how you reply to the High Priest?”’

[292]

The Mysteries performed between

the House of Annas and the House of Caiaphas (inclusive
)

1 They take him bound from the house of Annas to the house of Caiaphas, where St Peter denied him twice, and under the gaze of the Lord, he went outside and wept bitterly.

2 Jesus spent the whole of that night in bonds.

3 In addition, those who were holding him prisoner mocked him, and wounded him, and blindfolded him, and struck him blows in the face; and they asked him, ‘“Prophesy to us who has struck you”’, and they did other similar acts of blasphemy against him.

[293]

The Mysteries performed between

the House of Caiaphas and the House of Pilate (inclusive)

Matthew
27, Luke 23, Mark 15

1 The whole multitude of the Jews take him to Pilate, and they accuse him before Pilate saying, ‘“We have found that this fellow was perverting our people, and was forbidding the payment of tribute to Caesar”’.

2 After Pilate had examined him once and then again, Pilate said: ‘“I find no fault whatsoever”’.

3 Barabbas, a thief, was chosen in preference to him: ‘They all shouted out saying, “Do not release this man, but Barabbas”’.

[294]

The Mysteries performed between

the House of Pilate and the House of Herod

1 Pilate sent Jesus, the Galilean, to Herod, tetrarch of Galilee.

2 Herod, who was curious, questioned him at length, and he did not reply to anything at all, even though the scribes and priests were constantly accusing him.

3 Herod and all his army treated him with contempt by dressing him in a white garment.

[295]

The Mysteries performed between

the House of Herod and the House of Pilate

Matthew
27, Luke 23, Mark 15, John 19

1 Herod sends him back once more to Pilate, thanks to which they become friends after having been enemies.

2 Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged; and the soldiers made a crown of thorns, and they put it on his head, and they clothed him in purple, and came up to him saying, ‘“Hail, King of the Jews”’, and they struck him blows in the face.

3 He brought him out before them all: ‘Jesus then came out, crowned with thorns and clothed in red; and Pilate said to them, “Here is the man”, and as soon as the High Priests saw him, they shouted out saying, “Crucify him, crucify him!”’.

[296]

The Mysteries performed between

the House of Pilate and the Cross (inclusive)

John
19:13–22

1 Pilate, seated as a judge, handed Jesus over to them so that they might crucify him, after the Jews had denied him as king, saying, ‘“We have no king but Caesar”’.

2 He was carrying the cross on his back, and when he was not able to carry it, they forced Simon of Cyrene to carry it behind Jesus.

3 They crucified him between two thieves, putting up the notice, ‘“Jesus of Nazareth, king of the Jews”’.

[297]

The Mysteries performed on the Cross

John
19:23–37

1 He spoke seven words on the Cross: he prayed for those who were crucifying him; he pardoned the thief; he commended St John to his mother, and his mother to St John; he cried aloud, ‘“I am thirsty”’ and they gave him gall and vinegar; he said that he was forsaken; he said, ‘“It is finished”’; he said, ‘“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”’.

2 The sun was darkened, the rocks split, the tombs opened, the veil of the Temple was torn into two parts from the top to the bottom.

3 They blasphemed, saying: ‘“You are the one about to destroy the Temple of God; come down from the cross!”’; his garments were divided; when his side was wounded by the lance, it poured out water and blood.

[298]

The Mysteries performed from the Cross

to the Tomb (inclusive)

John
19:38–42

1 He was taken from the cross by Joseph and Nicodemus, in the presence of his sorrowful mother.

2 The body was carried to the tomb, and anointed, and buried.

3 Guards were posted.

[299]

The Resurrection of Christ Our Lord

The First Appearance

1 He appeared to the Virgin Mary. Although this is not stated in Scripture, it is assumed to have been included in the statement that he appeared to so many others, for Scripture supposes that we are capable of understanding, as it is written: ‘“Are you also without understanding?”’

[300]

The Second Appearance

Mark
16:1–11

1 Mary Magdalene [Mary] the mother of James, and Salome make their way very early in the morning to the tomb, saying: ‘“Who will lift the stone from the door of the monument for us?”’

2 They see the stone lifted and the angel who says, ‘“Jesus of Nazareth, whom you seek, is already risen from the dead; he is not here”’.

3 He appeared to Mary, who had stayed near the tomb after the other women had gone.

[301]

The Third Appearance

Matthew
28:8–10

1 These Marys come out of the monument full of fear and great joy, intending to announce to the disciples the resurrection of the Lord.

2 Christ Our Lord appeared to them on the way, saying: ‘“May God bless you”’, and they came close and fell at his feet and adored him.

3 Jesus says to them, ‘“Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to make their way to Galilee, because there they will see me”’.

[302]

The Fourth Appearance

Luke
24:9–12

1 As soon as St Peter heard from the women that Christ was risen from the dead, he went with haste to the monument.

2 Entering the monument, he saw only the cloths that had covered the body of Christ Our Lord, and nothing else.

3 While St Peter was thinking about these things, Christ appeared to him, and that is why the apostles were saying, ‘“Truly the Lord has risen from the dead and has appeared to Simon”’.

[303]

The Fifth Appearance

Luke
24:13–35

1 He appeared to the disciples who were on their way to Emmaus talking about Christ.

2 He rebuked them, showing from the Scriptures that Christ had to die and rise from the dead: ‘“You foolish people and slow of heart to believe all that has been talked about by the prophets! Was it not necessary that Christ should suffer, and so enter into his glory?”’

3 At their entreaty he stays there, and was with them until, on giving them communion, he disappeared; and then they returned and told the disciples how they had recognized him in the communion.

[304]

The Sixth Appearance

John
20:19–23

1 The disciples were gathered together ‘for fear of the Jews’, except for St Thomas.

2 Jesus appeared to them, the doors being closed, and while in their midst said, ‘“Peace be with you”’.

3 He gives them the Holy Spirit, saying: ‘“Receive the Holy Spirit: whose sins you forgive, they will be forgiven them”’.

[305]

The Seventh Appearance

John
20:24–29

1 St Thomas says in his unbelief, because he had not been present at the preceding appearance, ‘“Unless I see it, I will not believe it”’.

2 A week later Jesus appears to them, the doors being closed, and says to St Thomas, ‘“Insert your finger here and see the truth, and do not be unbelieving, but faithful”’.

3 St Thomas believed, saying, ‘“My Lord and my God”’, and Christ says to him, ‘“Blessed are those who did not see and believed”’.

[306]

The Eighth Appearance

John
21:1–17

1 Jesus appears to seven of his disciples, who were fishing; they had not caught anything during the whole night, but when they stretched out the net at his command, ‘they could not pull it in because of the huge catch of fish’.

2 St John recognized him by this miracle and said to St Peter, ‘“It is the Lord”’, and the latter threw himself into the sea and came to Christ.

3 He gave them some roast fish and a honeycomb to eat, and he entrusted the sheep to St Peter (after first examining him three times on charity) saying, ‘“Feed my sheep”’.

[307]

The Ninth Appearance

Matthew
28:16–20

1 At the Lord’s command the disciples go to Mount Tabor.

2 Christ appears to them and says, ‘“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me”’.

3 He sent them all over the world to preach, saying, ‘“Go and teach all peoples, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”’.

[308]

The Tenth Appearance

1 Corinthians
15:6

‘Later he was seen by more than five hundred brethren together.’

[309]

The Eleventh Appearance

1 Corinthians
15.8

‘He appeared later to St James.’

[310]

The Twelfth Appearance

He appeared to Joseph of Arimathaea, as is devoutly meditated upon and written about in the Lives of the Saints.

[311]

The Thirteenth Appearance

1 Corinthians
15:8

He appeared to St Paul after the Ascension (‘Finally he appeared to me, as to one born out of due time’); he appeared also, in soul, to the holy fathers in Limbo; and after they had been brought out, and he ‘took up once more’ his body, he appeared many times to the disciples, and spoke with them.

[312]

The Ascension of Christ Our Lord

Acts of the Apostles
1:1–12

1 After he had been appearing during forty days to the apostles, giving many demonstrations and signs, and talking of the kingdom of God, he ordered them to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit that had been promised.

2 He brought them to the Mount of Olives, and in their presence he was raised up, and a cloud made him disappear from their sight.

3 As they were looking up to heaven, the angels say to them, ‘“Men of Galilee, what are you looking at up in heaven? This Jesus, who is taken up from your eyes to heaven, will come in the way that you have seen him go to heaven”’.

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[313] Rules by which to perceive and understand to some extent the various movements produced in the soul: The good that they may be accepted and the bad that they may be rejected

RULES MORE SUITABLE FOR THE FIRST WEEK

[314] RULE 1 With people who go from one mortal sin to another it is the usual practice of the enemy to hold out to them apparent pleasures; so he makes them imagine sensual satisfactions and gratifications, in order to retain and reinforce them in their vices and sins. With people of this kind, the good spirit uses the opposite procedure, causing pricks of conscience and feelings of remorse by means of the power of rational moral judgement.32

[315] RULE 2 In the case of people who are making serious progress in the purification of their sins, and advancing from good to better in the service of God Our Lord, the opposite to Rule 1 takes place, because then it is typical of the bad spirit to harass, sadden and obstruct, and to disturb the soul with false reasoning, so as to impede progress, while the distinctive trait of the good spirit is to give courage and strength, consolations, tears, inspirations and quiet, making things easy and removing all obstacles, so that the person may move forward in doing good.

[316] RULE 3 On spiritual consolation. I use the word ’consolation’ when any interior movement is produced in the soul that leads her to become inflamed with the love of her Creator and Lord, and when, as a consequence, there is no created thing on the face of the earth that we can love in itself, but we love it only in the Creator of all things.

Similarly, I use the word ‘consolation’ when one sheds tears that lead to love of one’s Lord, whether these arise from grief over one’s sins, or over the Passion of Christ Our Lord, or over other things expressly directed towards His service and praise.

Lastly, I give the name ‘consolation’ to every increase of hope, faith and charity, to all interior happiness that calls and attracts a person towards heavenly things and to the soul’s salvation, leaving the soul quiet and at peace in her Creator and Lord.

[317] RULE 4 On spiritual desolation. ‘Desolation’ is the name I give to everything contrary to what is in Rule 3, e.g. darkness and disturbance in the soul, attraction towards what is low and of the earth, anxiety arising from various agitations and temptations. All this tends to a lack of confidence in which the soul is without hope and without love; one finds oneself thoroughly lazy, lukewarm, sad, and as though cut off from one’s Creator and Lord. For just as consolation is contrary to desolation, so the thoughts born of consolation are contrary to the thoughts born of desolation.

[318] RULE 5 In time of desolation one should never make any change, but stand firm and constant in the resolutions and decision by which one was guided on the day before the desolation, or in the decision one had reached during the preceding time of consolation. For, just as in consolation it is more the good spirit who guides and counsels us, so in desolation it is the bad spirit, and by following his counsels we can never find the right way.

[319] RULE 6 Although in desolation we must make no changes in our former decisions, it is however very helpful to make an intense effort to change oneself in a sense opposed to this desolation, e.g. by more insistence on our prayer and meditation, by much use of examens, and by increasing our practice of penance in some suitable way.

[320] RULE 7 Anyone in desolation must consider how Our Lord has placed them in a trial period, so that they are to resist the various disturbances and temptations of the enemy by their own natural powers; and they are able to do this with the divine help which remains with them at all times, even though they may not clearly feel it. Although the Lord has withdrawn their great fervour, deeply–felt love and intense grace, He has still left them a grace which is sufficient for their eternal salvation.

[321] RULE 8 A person in desolation must endeavour to remain in an attitude of patience, for patience is opposed to the annoyances that come upon one; one should keep in mind that consolation will soon come, if one uses all one’s powers against this desolation, as has been said in Rule 6.

[322] RULE 9 There are three principal reasons for our being in desolation: (i) because we are lukewarm, lazy or careless in our commitment to the spiritual life, and so spiritual consolation goes away because of our faults; (ii) to test our quality and to show how far we will go in God’s service and praise, even without generous recompense in the form of consolations and overflowing graces; (iii) to give us true information and understanding, so that we may perceive through experience that we cannot ourselves arouse or sustain overflowing devotion, intense love, tears or any other spiritual consolation, but that everything is a gracious gift from God Our Lord. So we do not build our nest where we do not belong, becoming elated in mind to the point of pride or vainglory, putting down to our own account things like devotion or the other features of spiritual consolation.

[323] RULE 10 When in consolation one must consider how one will bear oneself in the desolation that will follow later, and gather renewed strength for that moment.

[324] RULE 11 In consolation one should try to humble and lower oneself as much as possible by thinking how little one is worth in time of desolation without this grace or consolation. On the contrary, in desolation one should keep in mind that by drawing strength from one’s Creator and Lord, one has great power (if grace is enough) to resist every enemy.

[325] RULE 12 The behaviour of the enemy resembles that of a woman in a quarrel with a man, for she is weak before strength, but strong when allowed her will. It is the way of a woman, when she is quarrelling with a man, to lose courage and take flight when the man shows a bold front; on the other hand, the moment the man gives way and loses courage, then the rage, vengeance and ferocity of the woman overflow and know no bounds. In the same way it is the nature of the enemy to weaken and lose courage, and to turn to flight with his temptations, when the person actively engaged in the spiritual life shows a bold front against those temptations and acts in a way diametrically opposed to them. If on the contrary the exercitant begins to be afraid and to lose courage in sustaining temptations, no beast on the face of the earth is as ferocious as the enemy of human nature in the intense malice with which he carries out his wicked purpose.

[326] RULE 13 The enemy also behaves as a false lover behaves towards a woman. Such a man wants to remain hidden and not be discovered; in using dishonest talk to try to seduce the daughter of a good father, or the wife of a good husband, he wants his words and inducements kept secret; on the other hand he is greatly put out when the daughter reveals his deceitful words and corrupt intentions to her father (or the wife to her husband), for then he clearly recognizes that his plans cannot succeed. In the same way, when the enemy of human nature brings his deceits and inducements to bear upon the just soul, he wants them to be received and kept in secret; but when they are disclosed to a good confessor or other spiritual person who knows his trickery and perversity, he is very displeased, realizing that once his tricks are revealed, his malicious purpose cannot succeed.

[327] RULE 14 Likewise, he behaves like a military leader setting about the conquest and seizure of the object of his desire. For the commander of an army, after setting up his camp and inspecting the fortifications and defences of a castle, attacks it at its weakest point; and in the same way the enemy of our human nature makes his rounds to inspect all our virtues, theological, cardinal and moral, and where he finds us weakest and in greatest need as regards eternal salvation, there it is that he attacks and tries to take us.

[328]

Rules for the same purpose containing

more advanced ways of discerning the spirits

RULES MORE APPLICABLE TO THE SECOND WEEK

[329] RULE 1 It is characteristic of God and His angels in the movements prompted by them to give true gladness and spiritual joy, while banishing all the sadness and distress inspired by the enemy, whose characteristic it is to fight against this joy and spiritual consolation by bringing forward specious arguments, subtleties and one fallacy after another.

[330] RULE 2 Only God Our Lord gives consolation to the soul without preceding cause; for it is the Creator’s prerogative to enter the soul, and to leave her, and to arouse movements which draw her entirely into love of His Divine Majesty. When I say ‘without cause’ I mean without any previous perception or understanding of some object due to which consolation could come about through the mediation of the person’s own acts of understanding and will.

[331] RULE 3 When there is a cause, consolation can be given by the good or the bad angel, but these give consolation for opposite purposes: the good angel for the soul’s profit, so that the person grows and rises from good to better, the bad angel for the contrary purpose, so as eventually to draw the person into his own evil intention and wickedness.

[332] RULE 4 It is the characteristic of the bad angel to assume the form of ’an angel of light’33 in order to enter the devoted soul in her own way and to leave with his own profit; i.e. he proposes good and holy thoughts well adapted to such a just soul, and then little by little succeeds in getting what he wants, drawing the soul into his hidden snares and his perverted purposes.34

[333] RULE 5 We must pay close attention to the whole course of our thoughts: if the beginning, middle and end are entirely good, and tend towards what is wholly right, this is a sign of the good angel; but if the course of the thoughts suggested to us leads us finally to something bad, or distracting, or less good than what one had previously intended to do, or if in the end the person is weakened, upset or distressed, losing the peace, tranquillity and quiet previously experienced, all this is a clear sign of the bad spirit, the enemy of our progress and eternal well-being.

[334] RULE 6 When the enemy of human nature has been detected and recognized by the evil end to which he leads, his serpent’s tail, it is profitable for the person who has been tempted by him to retrace immediately the whole sequence of good thoughts he has suggested, looking for their starting-point, and noting how the enemy contrived little by little to make the soul fall away from the state of gentleness and spiritual joy she was in, until he drew her into his depraved intention; by recognizing and taking note of this experience one is put on one’s guard in the future against his habitual deceits.

[335] RULE 7 With those who go from good to better, the good angel touches the soul sweetly, lightly and gently, like a drop of water going into a sponge, while the bad spirit touches her sharply with noise and disturbance, as when a drop of water falls on a stone; with those who go from bad to worse, these same spirits touch the soul contrario modo [in the opposite way]. The reason for this difference is the person’s disposition of soul, either contrary or similar to those spirits: when the disposition is contrary, the spirits enter with noise and disturbance, making themselves felt; when the disposition is similar, they come in quietly, as someone comes into one’s own home opening the door.

[336] RULE 8 When the consolation is without cause, even though there is no deception in it, as it comes from God Our Lord alone, as has been said [Exx. 330], nevertheless the spiritual person to whom God gives this consolation must scrutinize the experience carefully and attentively, so as to distinguish the exact time of the actual consolation from the period following it, during which the soul is still aglow and favoured with the after-effects of the consolation now passed. For during this second period it often happens, owing either to thinking based on conclusions drawn from the relations between our own concepts and judgements, or to the agency of the good or bad spirit, that we form various plans and opinions that are not directly given to us by God Our Lord. These therefore require to be examined with very great care before being given complete credence and put into practice.

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[337] Rules to be observed in the ministry of alms-giving

[338] RULE 1 If I distribute alms to relations or friends, or to persons to whom I am attached, I should consider four things, of which some mention has already been made in connection with the election [Exx. 184–87].

Firstly, the love that moves me and makes me give the alms has to descend from above, from the love of God Our Lord; so I must first of all feel within myself that the love, greater or lesser, which I have for these people is for God’s sake, and that in my motive for my loving them more God must shine forth [Exx. 184].

[339] RULE 2 Secondly, I should look at the case of someone whom I have never seen or known, and for whom I desire full perfection in their ministry and state of life. The norm which I would like such a person to observe in the way of distributing alms – for the greater glory of God Our Lord and the greater perfection of that person’s soul – I myself shall keep to, acting in the same way, neither more nor less. So I will observe the rule and norm that I would want for someone else, and that I judge to be appropriate [Exx. 185].

[340] RULE 3 Thirdly, I should consider, supposing I were at the point of death, what procedure and what criteria I would then wish to have maintained in the duties of my administration; keeping to that rule, I shall put it into practice in my particular acts of distribution [Exx. 186].

[341] RULE 4 Fourthly, I should look at my situation on the Day of Judgement, and think how at that moment I would want to have fulfilled my duties and responsibilities in this ministry. I shall adopt now the rule that I would then want to have observed [Exx. 187].

[342] RULE 5 When one feels a preference and attachment for the people to whom one wants to give alms, one should stop and carefully ponder the four rules just given, using them to examine and test one’s attachment; one should not give the alms until one has got rid of and rejected one’s disordered attachment, in keeping with these rules.

[343] RULE 6 There is no fault in taking the goods of God Our Lord for distribution when one is called by our God and Lord to such a ministry. Nevertheless fault and excess are possible in regard to the amount and proportion that one should appropriate and allot to oneself out of the goods held for donation to others, so it is always possible to reform one’s life and state by means of the above rules.

[344] RULE 7 For the foregoing reasons and for many others, it will always be better and more secure in what touches our person and standard of living the more we cut down and reduce expenses, and the closer we come to our High Priest, our model and rule, Christ Our Lord; it was in this spirit that the Third Council of Carthage (at which St Augustine was present) decided and decreed that the furniture of a bishop should be ordinary and cheap.

The same consideration applies to all walks of life, taking into account and making allowances for the circumstances and social position of individuals. Thus for marriage we have the example of St Joachim and St Anna, who divided their means into three parts: the first they gave to the poor, the second to the ministry and service of the Temple, the third they took for the support of themselves and of their household.

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[345] Helpful Notes for the perception and understanding of scruples and of the insinuations of our enemy

[346] NOTE 1 People commonly give the name ‘scruple’ to something coming from our judgement and freedom, i.e. the situation when I freely take something to be sin which is not a sin, as would be the case if a person, having accidentally trodden on a cross formed by two straws, were to make the personal judgement that a sin had been committed. Properly speaking this is an error of judgement, not a scruple in the true sense.

[347] NOTE 2 After I have trodden on that cross, or indeed after anything I may have thought, said or done, the idea may come to me from outside myself [Exx. 32] that I have sinned, while on the other hand it seems to me that I have not sinned; tamen [however] I feel troubled about the matter, doubting and at the same time not doubting. It is this that is a ‘scruple’ properly so-called, and a temptation suggested by the enemy.

[348] NOTE 3 The first scruple (Note 1) is to be utterly abhorred, being as it is a total error. But for the person seriously committed to the spiritual life, the second (Note 2) is of no small benefit for a time. Indeed to a great extent it cleanses and purifies such a person, separating his or her spirit far from anything that even looks like a sin (as St Gregory says, ’It is the mark of a good soul to see a fault where there is none’35).

[349] NOTE 4 The enemy observes closely whether a person is of coarse or sensitive conscience: a sensitive conscience he tries to sensitize still further, to the point of excess, in order the more easily to cause trouble and confusion. For instance, he may see that a person consents neither to mortal nor to venial sin, nor anything that looks like deliberate sin at all, and in such a case, unable to make such a person fall into anything that seems to be sin, he endeavours to make that person see sin where there is no sin, as in some word or passing thought. But if the conscience is coarse the enemy tries to make it even more coarse. For example, if up to now a person took no notice at all of venial sins, he will try to make that person take little notice of mortal sins, and in the case of a person who up to now took some notice of them, he will try to diminish the sense of venial sin or eliminate it completely.

[350] NOTE 5 The person who wishes to progress in the spiritual life must always go contrario modo [in the opposite direction] to that of the enemy; i.e. if the enemy is out to make the conscience coarser, one should seek to become more sensitive, and likewise if the enemy tries to refine the conscience to an extreme degree, one should seek to establish a position in the just mean, so as to become completely tranquil.

[351] NOTE 6 A person may wish to say or do something consistent with the Church and with the mind of the authorities, something that promotes the glory of God. In those circumstances, if a thought, or rather a temptation, comes from without not to say or do that thing, proposing specious arguments about vainglory or something else, then such a person ought to raise the understanding to our Creator and Lord, and if one sees that the proposed action is for God’s due service, or at least not against it, one must act in a way opposed per diametrum [diametrically] to the temptation (like St Bernard in his answer to a similar temptation, ‘I did not begin because of you, and I am not going to give up because of you’36).

[352] Rules to follow in view of the true attitude of mind that we ought to maintain [as members] within the Church militant

[353] RULE 1 Laying aside all our own judgements, we ought to keep our minds open and ready to obey in everything the true bride of Christ Our Lord, our holy mother, the hierarchical Church.

[354] RULE 2 We should praise confession made to a priest, and the reception of the Blessed Sacrament once a year, much more its reception once a month, and very much more its reception once a week, given the duly required dispositions.

[355] RULE 3 We should praise frequent attendance at mass; also hymns, psalms and long prayers, whether in or out of church; and likewise, appointed hours at the appropriate times for all the divine services, prayers and the canonical Hours.

[356] RULE 4 We should praise greatly religious life, virginity and continence, and we should not praise matrimony to the same extent as any of these.

[357] RULE 5 We should praise the vows of religion – obedience, poverty and chastity – and other vows of perfection made voluntarily; it should be noted however that vows should not be made about matters that withdraw from evangelical perfection, e.g. to be a merchant, to marry, etc., as a vow has to do with things that lead to that perfection.

[358] RULE 6 We should praise the cult of the saints, venerating their relics and praying to the saints themselves, praising also the stations, pilgrimages, indulgences, jubilees, dispensations and the lighting of candles in churches.

[359] RULE 7 We should praise the decrees about fasting and abstinence, e.g. in Lent, on the ember days, vigils, Fridays and Saturdays; similarly penances, not only interior but also exterior.

[360] RULE 8 We should praise the decoration and architecture of churches, also statues, which should be venerated according to what they represent.

[361] RULE 9 Finally we should praise all the precepts of the Church, being ready to seek arguments in their defence and never in any way to attack them.

[362] RULE 10 We should be more inclined to approve and praise the decrees and regulations of those in authority, and their conduct as well; for although some of these things do not or did not in the past deserve approval, more grumbling and scandal than profit would be aroused by speaking against them, either in public sermons or in conversations in front of simple people. In that way people would become hostile towards authority, either temporal or spiritual. But just as harm can be done by speaking ill to simple people about those in authority in their absence, so it can do good to speak of their unworthy behaviour to the actual people who can bring about a remedy.

[363] RULE 11 We should praise both positive theology and scholastic theology, for as it is more characteristic of the positive doctors, such as St Jerome, St Augustine and St Gregory, to move the heart to love and serve God Our Lord in all things, so it is more characteristic of the scholastics like St Thomas, St Bonaventure, the Master of the Sentences, etc, to define or explain for our times what is necessary for eternal salvation and for more effectively combating and exposing all errors and fallacies. This is because the scholastic doctors, being more recent, not only have the benefit both of the true understanding of Sacred Scripture and of the holy positive Doctors, but while being themselves enlightened and illuminated by divine grace, they can avail themselves of the councils, canons and decrees of our holy mother Church.

[364] RULE 12 We must avoid making comparisons between those of our own day and the blessed of former times, for there is no small error in doing this, i.e. in saying of someone, ‘He knows more than St Augustine,’ or ‘He is another St Francis or greater’, or ‘He is another St Paul for virtue, sanctity, etc’.

[365] RULE 13 To maintain a right mind in all things we must always maintain that the white I see, I shall believe to be black, if the hierarchical Church so stipulates; for we believe that between Christ Our Lord, the bridegroom, and the Church, His bride, there is the same Spirit who governs and directs us for the good of our souls because it is by that same Spirit and Lord of us all who gave the Ten Commandments that our holy mother Church is directed and governed.

[366] RULE 14 Even granting as perfectly true that no one can be saved without being predestined, and without having faith and grace, nevertheless much caution is needed in the way in which we discuss and propagate these matters.

[367] RULE 15 We must not make a habit of talking much about predestination, but if sometimes mention is made of it one way or another, our language should be such that simple people are not led into error, as sometimes happens with them saying, ‘It is already decided whether I am to be saved or damned, so whether I do good or evil can change nothing’; paralysed by this notion, they neglect the works that lead to the salvation and spiritual progress of their souls.

[368] RULE 16 In the same way we must be careful lest by speaking about faith at great length and with much emphasis, without distinctions and explanations, we give people occasion to be dilatory and lazy in works, either before they have a faith informed by charity, or even afterwards.

[369] RULE 17 Similarly we must not talk of grace at such length and with such insistence as to poison people’s attitude to free will. Thus our way of talking about faith and grace should result, as far as we can with God’s help, in the greater praise of His Divine Majesty, but not in such a way and with such expressions (especially in times as dangerous as ours) that there is any prejudice against, or contempt for, good works and free will.

[370] RULE 18 Given that the motive of pure love in the constant service of God Our Lord is to be valued above all, yet we ought also greatly to praise fear of the Divine Majesty. The reason is that not only filial fear is a good and holy thing, but where someone is not capable of attaining anything better or more useful, even servile fear can be a great help to escape from mortal sin, and once free a person can easily reach the filial fear, which is wholly acceptable and pleasing to God Our Lord, as it is all one with divine love.

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Appendix

TEXTS OF PRAYERS MENTIONED FOR USE IN THE SPIRITUAL EXERCISES

Anima Christi (translated by John Henry Newman)

Soul of Christ, be my sanctification;

Body of Christ, be my salvation;

Blood of Christ, fill all my veins;

Water from the side of Christ, wash out my stains;

May Christ’s Passion strengthen me;

O good Jesu, hear me;

In your wounds I fain would hide,

Never to be parted from your side;

Guard me when my foes assail me,

Call me when my life shall fail me.

Command me then to come to thee,

That I for all eternity

With your saints may praise thee. Amen.

Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth;

and in Jesus Christ His only Son, Our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried; He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

Hail Holy Queen

Hail, holy Queen, mother of mercy; hail, our life, our sweetness, and our hope! To you do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to you do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn, then, most gracious advocate, your eyes of mercy towards us, and after this our exile, show to us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!

Hail Mary

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Our Father

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

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